When it comes to energy and power, science fiction is generally split into two camps.
There’s the plentiful, shiny, endless sort of power of Star Trek and the like, where all humanity’s needs are effortlessly met in shiny cities and spaceships.
And then there is the Mad Max vision, with fossil fuel resources being bitterly fought over and running out in a god-forsaken wasteland.
May 1 2015. Remember the date.
That is because it was the day that we took a giant step closer to the first vision thanks to Elon Musk and Tesla, the company he founded.
Musk – one of the direct inspirations for Robert Downey Jnr’s portrayal of Tony Stark – unveiled the Tesla Powerwall.
This is a 7 or 10kwh battery to be fitted into your home for around £2,000, taking power from the sun and the quiet times on the national grid when power costs less.
The battery can then be switched on to run household items, while it can also store energy to protect against a power cut.
It will last for several hours and has a 10-year guarantee.
It is the first step towards individual, cheap power for all.
And Musk is not the only one. You may have missed it last year but the US Navy did something remarkable about power too.
Their bigger ships and nuclear powered of course, but smaller ones rely on oil and fuel to operate, burning around 1,000 gallons an HOUR!
Scientists at the US Navy Lab have pioneered a way to run their engines using seawater.
Basically they have a special catalytic converter which removes hydrogen and carbon dioxide from seawater, to make a liquid hydrocarbon fuel.
It does this with a 92% efficiency rate and the fuel can be used in their ship’s existing engines.
It was described at the time as a game-changer but to me that is massively understating what they accomplished.
Yes, there is a long way to go from their initial test – flying a remote control plane powered by the new fuel.
They have to create the capability to produce it on an industrial scale, then fit that machinery into each of its ships.
But it works, the fuel can be made and it works. That means we are only talking years until it becomes a commercial reality in all of our lives.
Power from water and household batteries.
The stuff of science fiction is becoming science fact in front of our eyes and a brilliant future awaits.