There are great disputes concerning the validity of Early Streamer Emission (ESE) devices and the later systems known as Dissipation Array Systems (DAS). Obviously there are two parties in these debates, the manufacturers and the scientific community. This site does not have an opinion, however, we have collected some scientific papers that discuss the validity of the devices. The manufactures have numerous documents from satisfied users that praise their products. We have not included any of these, as they are related to specific manufactures.
The theory of operation is quite simple: The array is designed to dissipate the charge between cloud base and ground, therefore preventing the build up of a charge that will result in a lightning strike to the site. This is generally known as "Charge Transfer" A later court case between ESE manufacturer and the National Fire Prevention Association (USA) identifies that the ESE device is more efficient than a Franklin rod as an attachment point. This is a little confusing and is a contradiction to what all other manufacturers claim.
The scientific review of these devices started back in 1975 when various USA Federal Government Departments funded the scientific review of the devices produced by a company called "Lightning Eliminators & Consultants", a company operated by Dr Roy Carpenter. The departments involved : NASA, US Airforce, FAA, & Naval Research Labs. The report indicated that the scientists contracted for the review, did not verify the claims of the manufacturer. This is referred to in detail in the document "The applications of Lightning Elimination Devices to Substations and Power Lines"
The US Government again funded in part, a review of these devices, with funds from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The task was given to Dr's Uman & Rakov, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. This paper was published in July of 2002 and titled: "A critical review of Non-Conventional approaches to Lightning Protection"
Another review of the "Charge Transfer" concept was prompted by the IEEE- Power Engineering Society under Project P1576 (proposed Standard for Lightning Protection systems using the "Charge Transfer System" for Industrial and Commercial and Installations). This is authored by Prof Charles B Moore, Drs Rison, Krehbiel of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (Nov 2000)
During 1997 Dr Mousa, British Columbia Hydro, Canada, wrote a paper for the IEEE Transaction on Power Delivery, Vol 13, No 4, October 1997, conference. This paper is titled "The applications of Lightning Elimination Devices to Substations and Power Lines"
A document was written in August 2001 due to of a dispute between manufactures of ESE devices and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Consultation was sought from 17 international scientists, all members of the International Conference on Lightning Protection, (ICLP), on the validity of the ESE devices. The document titled "Worldwide Opposition to ESE Lightning Rods" was in support of the NFPA's rejection of a standard that supports such devices.
This dispute eventually resulted in a legal battle between the Lightning Protection Institute and a ESE Manufacturer. This was played out in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona with a judgment against the ESE devices. The document is lengthy and dated October 2003. It is interesting to note that the basis of the dispute is that a Early Streamer Emission (ESE) device will be more effective in a lightning attachment point than a conventional Franklin rod deployed in a "Physical Lightning Protection System" therefore providing a greater zone of protection.