12 Oct 2007

“phaeno” Wolfsburg: Europe’s Largest Lightning Machine Marvels Visitors

With Europe’s largest lightning machine, the science centre “phaeno” in Wolfsburg has been enriched with a new exhibit attraction. The EnBW EnergyTower was presented to the public in late August and is the most powerful Tesla coil in Europe that is construed for non-stop operation. The technology behind the roughly four-metre high EnBW EnergyTower is based on a coil named after physicist Nikola Tesla (1856-1943). With his groundbreaking discovery in the field of alternating current, the inventor established the basis of the public electrical power supply system that is still applicable today. With millions of volts, the lightning machine can send metre-long violet flashes through the air. During the demonstration at phaeno, a cascade of these flashes unfolds with a load roar right before the eyes of onlookers, and the elemental force of the lightning storm can be physically felt. Protected by a Faraday cage, the lightning machine engulfs one in a flurry of blitzes. Since the 79-million euro expensive science centre opened back in November 2005, around 450,000 visitors have been noted (a report on the science centre was presented in EAP issue 1/2006). The EnBW EnergyTower will also be going on tour in the spring of 2008 and will be able to be marvelled at in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. (eap)


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