Archive of 'The Power of the Future' Columns

Each Wednesday LiveScience examines the viability of emerging energy technologies - the power of the future.

How Smarter Cars Could Power the Future Two new gizmos aim to reduce fuel consumption by changing the way people drive.

How Tiny Life Could Power the Future Genetic analysis of a bacteria found in a hot spring could help produce clean-burning hydrogen gas for fuel cell cars.

How Bubble Wrap Could Power the Future The Water Cube's outer structure is made of air-filled polymer cushions that require 200 times less energy than glass.

How Lunar Soil Could Power the Future Mining the moon for helium could supply the Earth with clean, abundant energy.

How Quantum Physics Could Power the Future The strange behavior of quantum physics might seem too unpredictable to rely on for our energy needs, but new technologies hope to capitalize on its very strangeness.

How Tides Could Power the Future The world's largest tidal turbine is set to start generating electricity this month.

How Jungle Rot Could Power the Future The genetics of "jungle rot" may hold the key to more economical biofuel in the near future.

How a Giant Solar Tower Could Power the Future An Australian company has a plan to stick a kilometer-high chimney on top of a five-kilometer-wide greenhouse to make electricity.

How a Man-Made Tornado Could Power the Future The electricity for a small city could be generated from the wind being sucked up an artificial tornado.

How Satellites Could Power the Future Energy gathered in space would be beamed to Earth.

How Less Zoom Zoom Could Power the Future To reduce fuel consumption, vehicle performance will have to take a back seat to economy

How Compressed Air Could Power the Future Renewables like wind cannot supply a steady stream of power, but compressed air energy storage can act like a big battery to smooth out the fluctuations.

"Whatever Happened to..." Series

These articles were part of an occasional LiveScience series about ideas to ease humanity's impact on the environment.

Whatever Happened to Wind Energy? Towering wind turbines have become the symbol of renewable energy, but the literally high profile of wind energy may be its biggest drawback.

Whatever Happened to Energy Conservation? The most talked-about solutions for global warming involve alternative energies, but the straightest line to reduced greenhouse gas emissions is using less energy, period.

Whatever Happened to Solar Power? Solar energy is the light alternative to a carbon-rich energy diet, and it may be the only renewable energy that can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, engineers say.

Whatever Happened to Geothermal Energy? The world's greatest source of power lies a few miles under our feet. And it could supply the current global energy demand for more than 30,000 years.

Whatever Happened to Biodiesel? Expectations that this renewable fuel will deliver significant reductions in greenhouse gases may be too high.

Whatever Happened to Nuclear Power? At the turn of the millennium, nuclear power appeared to be on its way out. But the nukes industry appears to be in vogue again, thanks in large part to fears of climate change.

Whatever Happened to Earthships? Earthships are self-sufficient homes built of recycled tires that embody the core values of sustainable living. They generate their own electricity, maximize solar heating and use only rainwater.

Whatever Happened to Fuel Cells? These clean battery-like devices produce electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen and giving off only water.

Whatever Happened to Wave Energy? Many proposals have been made to turn that sloshing motion into useable electricity, but most of these projects are stuck on dry land.

Michael Schirber
Michael Schirber began writing for LiveScience in 2004 when both he and the site were just getting started. He's covered a wide range of topics for LiveScience from the origin of life to the physics of Nascar driving, and he authored a long series of articles about environmental technology. Over the years, he has also written for Science, Physics World, andNew Scientist. More details on his website.