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.
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- Ethanol (or Ethyl Alcohol)
Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is produced in large quantities through the fermentation of the sugars and carbohydrates in agricultural crops and blended with gasoline as an alternative to conventional oil-based fuels for motor vehicles.
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)