A.J. Simon describes the latest (2015) of the U.S. energy flow charts published annually by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Well explained and educative.

Enjoy your 3 minute class on ‘How to read an LLNL energy flow chart (Sankey diagram)’.

via Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory YouTube channel

After posting on Australian Metals Flows yesterday I realized I had never presented a Sankey diagram for energy flows in Australia.

Well, here it is. From the Government of Australia, Clean Energy Regulator, Renewable Energy Target program website comes this beauty (CC-BY license Commonwealth of Australia):


One can really say that Australia is mainly exporting its energy. Flows in Petajoule (PJ) for the year 2012/13. Older energy flow diagrams available in the Australian Atlas of Minerals, Resources and Processing Centres here.

The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) is an association of the minerals industry. In this AusIMM Bulletin article titled ‘From Waste to Wealth’ they talk about metal recovery and recycling in Australia.

This Sankey diagram (actually two Sankey diagrams) from the article visualizes metal flows in Australia in 2012/2013 based on data from Golev & Corder (2014).

The smaller yellow diagram section on the left actually just shows mining activities in Australia and the fact that the largest portion of mining output (ores) are exported. Only 7.5 Mt are processed within Australia. This Sankey arrow is then blown up and corresponds to the yellow input stream into the second diagram [a similar solution to decouple diagrams with different scales was presented in yesterday’s post].

In the metal production process there are losses, and material is being exported and imported. The annual increase to the Australian ‘in use stocks’ (i.e. metals being used infrastructure, buildings and products) is 12 Mt, possible only thanks to 7 Mt metals imports. Some 7 Mt of metals are also released annually from ‘in use stocks’.

The dotted lines signal that there are possible routes, but either outside the scope of the Australian market or no reliable data is available (new scrap from the manufacturing step being fed back to the smelting).

OK, this doesn’t claim to be scientific at all. Credits for this idea go to Mariluz Congosto who did such a New Year’s Wishes Sankey Diagram in Spanish two years ago.

This time I refrain from criticism of the Sankey diagram. I could say that there are no units given for the flow quanities. Also, weight of the contributions to the four categories will in most personal cases not be equal. Love must certainly have a much fatter arrow. For some, prosperity might have more importance. Are the categories weighted properly amongst each other? Are the colors chosen appropriately? 😉

Best wishes to all readers of the blog. Have a very happy new year 2016 full of health, happiness, luck and prosperity! For a recipe use the Sankey diagram above.

Original Sankey diagram for 2014 by Mariluz Congosto with whom I share an afición:

An English-language publication ‘A Practical Guide to Energy Efficiency in Production Processes’ published by the Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport, Urban and Regional Development of the federal German state Hesse (PDF here) describes a structured approach and methodological toolbox to increase energy efficiency in large manufacturing companies. It also contains practical recommendations.

The below Sankey diagrams are based on data from a pilot implementation (“model project”) at a plastics manufacturer.

This is the Sankey diagram for the energy consumption (electricity and gas) in the existing (baseline) scenario

… and for one of the alternatives assessed in the project:

In this alternative scenario, heat is produced from natural gas rather than from electricity, thus reducing transformation losses. Heat recovery measures are also implemented. Flow values are in MWh per year for a given average production volume.

A second alternative scenario with trigeneration is also evaluated (see pp. 43-45 in the report) and potential cost savings and payback time are discussed.

From a design perspective the Sankey diagrams are quite okay, well structured. Some flaws can be noted in arrow segments that run diagonally, where the width of the arrow is not maintained. Overall energy supply and consumption are not shown in the diagram, but only individual values.

I feel it is necessary to tell you about some recent developments…

Earlier this year I was approached by a friendly person from ifu Hamburg. They are the maker of the e!Sankey software. I have been using e!Sankey for many years now for doing most of my own Sankey diagrams. Actually they had been in contact with me before, occasionally commenting on my posts and also asking me to be a beta tester for their version e!Sankey 3 pro back in 2011.

So I was happy that they asked me to become a beta tester for the new version 4 again. That was in summer and I was lucky to be one of the first to use this new software.

At the same time they were offering me a deal to support my blog. They will be paying for a banner ad here on sankey-diagrams.com and have also comissioned a series of Sankey diagrams done with e!Sankey 4. These diagrams will be made available to e!Sankey users for download. I will use the payment I get to cover my ISP and domain fees. I think it is fair to inform my readers about this endorsement, and hope to be able to stay independent and unbiased.

Steve from wikibudgets.org posted a comment calling attention to a new free web app they have launched on their website.

This is a straight-forward drawing tool for simple left-to-right distribution diagrams. On the website just pick a node (called “budget” there) and an arrow (called “transfer”), add amount, choose color. The elements can be dragged freely in the browser window. Easy zooming with mouse wheel or double-click on an element. The ‘Save Image’ command from the browser’s context menu lets you store a PNG file.

The motto of wikibudgets.org is to “Visualise public budgets. Rationalise politics. Tackle Corruption. Eliminate waste. Fight bureaucracy.” The Sankey diagrams everyone can produce with this tool aim at visualizing financial transfers in US$.

According to the wikibudgets.org blog this is a first early release of the open source Sankey app for desktop UI. Touch friendly editing for mobile devices is under development.

Added to the list of Sankey software.

Found out via the news feed from ifu Hamburg, maker of e!Sankey that they have released an SDK based on e!Sankey that allows software makers to integrate Sankey visualizations into their application.

Two main features help to achieve this: (1) building Sankey diagrams from an XML file that contains structural and layout information (2) feeding values into a Sankey diagram template by reading ID/value pairs from a CSV file.