2012 is the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. Mad Like Tesla, by Tyler Hamilton, salutes people dedicated to finding cleaner alternative energy sources.
Nikola Tesla was an extremely quirky inventor full of mad ideas about the world - many of which eventually proved to work. Tesla didn't stop what he was doing if others ridiculed him. He invented the AC induction motor, radio, remote-control (teleautomation) and more. In 1931, at age 75, he published a design for a geothermal power plant and a way to generate power from the ocean's temperature differential.
These new energy source developers follow in Tesla's footsteps. Most of them have left successful mainstream positions to pursue clean energy using ideas generally considered impractical in our time.
You don't have to be a geek to enjoy this book, but it helps. The language is accessible, but even technology-lite can get a bit heavy. But I felt genuinely educated by the end of it.
Mad Like Tesla presents mini-documentaries on real projects in:
The dream big brother to dirty and dangerous nuclear fission power - the sun does it, so why can't we? Fusion has a bad reputation from past false hopes - including the truly ideal cold fusion concept.
There are two main approaches to fusion, magnetic fusion and inertial fusion, and the US government oversees projects using each kind. But Dr Michel Laberge believes his smaller and much nimbler General Fusion has a real chance (well, 50% and rising). General Fusion has mixed the best of both worlds into magnetized target fusion - which notably removes the most expensive parts from the design.
Solar power from space
Get even more energy with the rest of the review...