How to operate this book

Some chapters begin with a quotation. Please don’t assume that my quoting
someone means that I agree with them; think of these quotes as provocations,
as hypotheses to be critically assessed.

Many of the early chapters (numbered 1, 2, 3, ...) have longer technical
chapters (A, B, C, ...) associated with them. These technical chapters start
on page 254.

At the end of each chapter are further notes and pointers to sources
and references. I find footnote marks distracting if they litter the main text
of the book, so the book has no footnote marks. If you love footnote marks,
you can usefully add them – almost every substantive assertion in the text
will have an associated note at the end of its chapter giving sources or
further information.

The text also contains pointers to web resources. When a web-pointer
is monstrously long, I’ve used the TinyURL service, and put the tiny code
in the text like this – [yh8xse] – and the full pointer at the end of the
book on page 344. yh8xse is a shorthand for a tiny URL, in this case: A complete list of all the URLs in this book is
provided at

I welcome feedback and corrections. I am aware that I sometimes make
booboos, and in earlier drafts of this book some of my numbers were off
by a factor of two. While I hope that the errors that remain are smaller
than that, I expect to further update some of the numbers in this book as I
continue to learn about sustainable energy.

How to cite this book:

David J.C. MacKay. Sustainable Energy – without the hot air.

UIT Cambridge, 2008. ISBN 978-0-9544529-3-3. Available free online