No matter how the U.S. energy portfolio changes, an increasing share of future needs will be met by energy-conversion and energy-demand technologies now in the research or development stage. Some will require substantial improvements—or even research breakthroughs—to have a major impact on our energy budget.
Some options are described below. Whether and to what extent any of these technologies ultimately contributes to changing our energy future will depend on many factors, from advances in technology development to the priorities reflected in government policy.
Understanding EfficiencyLearn the significance of energy efficiency
The Promise of Better LightingEnergy savings through lighting technology
Our Energy SystemA visualization of all our energy sources
- Carbon Debt
The amount of carbon emissions that exceed sustainable carbon sinks. A carbon debt could be assigned to any entity to which carbon emissions can be attributed, such as an individual, a firm, a group, a country, or an industry. Attribution of emissions and estimation of sustainable carbon sinks are complications to calculating this metric.
Search the National Academies Press website by selecting one of these related terms.
- America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation (2009)
- Liquid Transportation Fuels from Coal and Biomass: Technological Status, Costs, and Environmental Impacts (2009)
- Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report (2008)
- Review of DOE’s Nuclear Energy Research and Development Program (2007)