Product Cover Image

Powering the Future: A Scientist's Guide to Energy Independence, Safari

By Daniel B. Botkin

Published by FT Press

Published Date: Mar 25, 2010

More Product Info


Dr. Daniel B. Botkin objectively assesses the true prospects, limitations, costs, risks, dangers, and tradeoffs associated with every leading and emerging source of energy, including oil, natural gas, coal, hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, solar, ocean power, and biofuels. Next, Botkin addresses the energy distribution system, outlining how it currently works, identifying its inefficiencies, and reviewing options for improving it.


Finally, Botkin turns to solutions, offering a realistic, scientifically and economically viable path to a sustainable, energy-independent future: one that can improve the quality of life for Americans and for people around the world.


The Future of Fossil Fuels

What can we realistically expect from oil, gas, and coal?


Will Alternative Energy Sources Really Matter?

Running the numbers on solar, wind, biofuels, and other renewables


Must We All Wear Sweaters and Live in Caves?

The right role for efficiency--and why energy minimalism isn’t the solution


Where We Can Start--and What Will Happen if We Don’t

No magic bullet, but there are sensible, realistic solutions

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     xiii

About the Author     xv

Preface     xvii


Introduction: Blackout     1

Section I: Conventional Energy Sources     15

Chapter 1   Oil     19

Chapter 2   Natural Gas     37

Chapter 3   Coal     51

Chapter 4   Water Power     73

Chapter 5   Nuclear Power     85


Section II: New Energy Sources     115

Chapter 6   Wind Power     119

Chapter 7   Solar Power     141

Chapter 8   Ocean Power     163

Chapter 9   Biofuels     173


Section III: Designing an Energy System     197

Chapter 10  Transporting Energy: the Grid, Hydrogen, Batteries, and More     199

Chapter 11  Transporting Things     211

Chapter 12  Saving Energy at Home and Finding Energy at Your Feet     227

Chapter 13  Solutions     245

Endnotes     279

Index     313