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Unique sensor system deflects lightning from Burj Khalifa

$30,000 installation at tower's tip emits charge to nullify threat

Image Credit: Nadia Saleem/Gulf News
A picture taken from Nad Al Sheba shows the Burj Khalifa silhouetted against the night sky during a thunderstorm.
Gulf News

Dubai: With the Burj Khalifa standing over 800 metres tall, one can't but wonder how it stays out of harm's way when lightning strikes.

Burj Khalifa, which has experienced several lightning strikes, boasts one of the most advanced lightning prevention systems in the world, said Param Singh, regional marketing manager at Manav Enterprises, the company which installed the lightning protection system in the tower.

The tip of the Burj is covered with panels containing sensors that can identify the activity in the atmosphere, Singh explained.

"When the lightning condition is detected, the polarity of the charge is then identified," he said.

"Once it identifies the polarity, it creates a potential charge at the tip that is nine times stronger than any other system in the market today," he added.

"When you have a lightning strike coming down, it throws up a lightning strike," he said. "It's going to be like a frog." That's why the lightning travels and comes to the tip, he explained.

Manav Enterprise, one of the participants at the ongoing Middle East Electricity Exhibition, acknowledged that the exhibition was a big venue to attract business opportunities and that it had helped the company win the Burj Khalifa contract in 2006.

The installation of the lightning protection device cost about $30,000.

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