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

Opportunities and challenges for a sustainable energy future.

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US Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington DC 20585, USA.


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.

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