Opportunities and challenges for a sustainable energy future

Nature. 2012 Aug 16;488(7411):294-303. doi: 10.1038/nature11475.


Access to clean, affordable and reliable energy has been a cornerstone of the world's increasing prosperity and economic growth since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Our use of energy in the twenty-first century must also be sustainable. Solar and water-based energy generation, and engineering of microbes to produce biofuels are a few examples of the alternatives. This Perspective puts these opportunities into a larger context by relating them to a number of aspects in the transportation and electricity generation sectors. It also provides a snapshot of the current energy landscape and discusses several research and development opportunities and pathways that could lead to a prosperous, sustainable and secure energy future for the world.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conservation of Energy Resources / statistics & numerical data
  • Conservation of Energy Resources / trends*
  • Electricity
  • Energy-Generating Resources / economics
  • Energy-Generating Resources / history
  • Energy-Generating Resources / statistics & numerical data
  • Friction
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Horses / physiology
  • Motor Vehicles
  • Renewable Energy / economics
  • Renewable Energy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Transportation / statistics & numerical data
  • United States