Will Portable Generators Work After EMP?

Michael O. Smathers

Not all emergencies result in direct loss of human life, but they can still pose a serious threat to our way of life. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) would instantly short-circuit all electronic devices, destroying them. EMPs can occur without warning from a nuclear strike.

Keeping the parts of a portable power generator shielded from the effects of an EMP will make you more self-sufficient during a widespread lack of electrical power.

How to Shield From EMPs

A nuclear EMP comes from a surge of gamma rays that create a storm of free electrons known as Compton electrons, according to the Washington State Department of Health. This wave would travel at the speed of light, so you would have no advance warning. You can have a power generator that in itself doesn't require electricity, but portable solar panels that attach to the generator to provide it power will need shielding.

Because an EMP travels through the air, the solar panels have to be encased in an object that redirects electricity, similar to the way a lightning rod redirects a charge of lightning from your roof into the ground to prevent it damaging your house. According to the website Future Science, placing electronic appliances in plastic wrap will disperse a small charge. Have multiple layers of shielding to ensure the most protection.

Solar Power

Typically, portable generators rely on gasoline to power them. A widespread EMP, however, would make it nearly impossible to pump gasoline. Solar-powered generators remain one of the most viable means of producing power for emergency use. Invest in an inverter to convert the DC power that solar energy produces into AC power that appliances use. If you want to power a car battery, you need DC power. Shield your inverter using alternating layers of plastic and aluminum foil, and encase it in a completely enclosed and grounded metal box.