Energy Production

The greatest need modern civilizations have is energy. Learn about oil, electricity and newer forms of energy like solar and wind power.

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Did you know that the sun shines more energy onto the Earth's surface than all of its inhabitants use in an entire year? Learn how to sell electricity back to the grid.

By Allison Wachtel

Wind farms are touted for their ability to capture a clean, renewable energy source. Is producing wind energy as beneficial as it seems, or are there any downsides?

By Lance Looper

Energy has been on everybody's minds lately, probably because our society is in a transition period, trying to move from polluting sources to cleaner ones.


Coal dominates the power industry in the U.S., producing nearly half of all electricity consumed in the country.

By Rachel Cernansky, Planet Green

For most of the developed world, a flick of a switch brings the lights, television, computer, and dozens of other gadgets and appliances to life without question.

By David DeFranza, Planet Green

Shedding light on dark energy has been a bit of a challenge for today's astronomers. What dark energy actually is goes beyond our present scientific understanding.

By Talal Al-Khatib

The United States is the world's top producer of oil, but it still depends on foreign countries for millions of barrels, as well. Will there ever be a time when the U.S. is totally independent when it comes to oil production?

By Cherise Threewitt & Sarah Gleim


Why can't we generate all the electricity we need from the wind? Learn more about generating energy from wind power.

By Michael Graham Richard, Planet Green

The cost of solar panels depends on how sunny it is where you live, how much you spend on electricity and what size PV system you need. Learn what factors into the cost of solar panels in this article.

By Contributors

The global oil supply can't meet the demand forever. Will the last drops of oil lead to widespread anarchy, the end of globalization and the relentless exploitation of previously protected drilling sites?

By Robert Lamb & Sascha Bos

Americans use a lot of gasoline -- hundreds of thousands of barrels each month, as a matter of fact. But did you ever wonder where all of that gas actually comes from?

By Jamie Page Deaton


These pics will take you to the jungles of Sumatra, the Niger delta and points in between all in the name of oil. Get ready to learn about oil all around the globe.

By Rick Mayda

The outer continental shelf of the United States could hold a sizeable amount of oil. But is it enough to make a difference in the price of oil?

By Jennifer Horton

Nuclear power stands as one of humanity's greatest scientific achievements, as well as one of the greatest risks to its self-extermination. This collection of images highlights some of the main features of nuclear power.

By Rick Mayda

Scientists working with Foster's Brewing Company have made a fuel cell using bacteria and the brewery's waste water. They claim that their fuel cell generates non-polluting power as it cleanses the water. But is the "beer battery" simply a novelty?

By Jacob Silverman


Where electricity is produced from a coal fired power station, how much coal is required to run a 100-watt light bulb 24 hours a day for one year?

You've probably never noticed how many of these you use everyday, but HowStuffWorks took the time to count them and take them apart to see what's inside!

By Marshall Brain

Drilling down thousands of feet in lightless ocean depths and transporting that oil to the surface without spilling it isn't exactly easy. Did we mention the rough seas?

By Robert Lamb & Desiree Bowie

Laws, treaties and the limits of human technology have kept some petroleum reserves just beyond the reach of oil companies. So where are they dying to drill?

By Robert Lamb


The ever-changing price of a barrel of oil has a lot to do with what we pay for gasoline at the pump. But do you know the four major factors that contribute to the price of oil?

By Patrick E. George

Could solar cells be the asphalt of the 21st century?

By Patrick E. George & Cherise Threewitt

For decades, we've depended on an outdated, centralized power system that wastes power and occasionally fails to meet everyone's needs. The idea of a localized power grid, or microgrid, might just be the change we need.

By Robert Lamb

Manhole covers have been blasting out of the ground in New York City. Find out what causes these strange explosions and how powerful they really are.

By Kevin Bonsor


The basic idea isn't new, but the process of modern hydropower conversion is high-tech. Today's hydropower plants are some of the coolest machines ever constructed. Find out how rushing water generates power.

By Kevin Bonsor

Despite the dangers, oil refineries are essential to society in its current form. Learn how crude oil is converted into everything from butane to gasoline.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.