Even the best steam power plants are only about 50% efficient. The emissions they can produce include carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming.
Image: Science Museum/SSPL

Impact of the steam turbine

We still rely on steam today, with turbines generating much of our electricity. Electricity has had a huge impact on our lives. Think of all the appliances and gadgets we now take for granted - they were all made possible by the steam turbine.

Our electric civilisation has come at a price - a huge increase in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Despite growing awareness of climate change, demand for power looks set to continue to rise.