Electrical environment can be altered at 1 km distances from high voltage power lines.

James C. Matthews, Matthew D. Wright, Alison J. Buckley, Denis L. Henshaw, Dudley E. Shallcross

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


High voltage powerlines emit electrical charges into the atmosphere which can then attach to aerosols. This space charge above ground can be measured directly using ion spectrometers or indirectly through perturbations of the Earth's potential gradient using field mills. Several publications are reviewed to find evidence of aerosol charging at a distance from power lines. Field measurements of charge state near to high voltage power lines selected due to their high emissions of ions measured a small positive enhancement of electrical charge on aerosols at distances greater than 300 m, corresponding to a transit time of up to 400 s A quasi one-dimensional model of ion-aerosol interactions from a high voltage powerlines found that the addition of new ions to an aerosol population will result in those ions transferring charge to the aerosol which would then remain the dominant carrier of charge several hundred meters downwind. 10-min PG measurements from a fixed site measuring in 2008 compared measurements when the site was downwind of a 275 kV powerline to times with no wind and found evidence of space charge overhead through greater fields and variability at distances over 800 m These studies combined show evidence that the electrical environment near to power lines can be altered beyond 1 km from AC high voltage power lines, with excess charges likely to be concentrated on aerosol.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012011
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Electrostatics 2023 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Sept 20237 Sept 2023

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© Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.


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