Working my way up the southern cone, next in the mini-series on national energy balances for countries in Latin America is the one for Argentina‘s neighbor: Uruguay.

The Ministerio de Industria, Energía y Minería (MIEM) is publishing the Balance Energetico Nacional (BEN) for Uruguay and there is a dedicated website with all the underlying data.


The flow diagram (diagrama de flujo) for the 2015 energy balance was produced by engineering and energy consultancy SEG Ingenieria from Montevideo and appeared in their technical file on energy indicators (Nov 2016, in Spanish only).

Flows are in ktoe (Spanish: ktep, kilo tonelada equivalente de petróleo). The country-wide final consumption in 2015 was 4399 ktoe.

The round icons visualize sources, energy conversion and consuming sectors. They look nice and playful, however, they might also dissimulate the flow quantities: For example, if you look at ‘Transporte’ and ‘Industria’ in the right-hand side, they do have the same diameter, but transport has a 28% share of the final consumption while industry has 42%.

One of the research topics in the research group of Prof. Christos T. Maravelias at University of Wisconsin – Madison is ‘Renewable Chemicals from Lignocellulosic Biomass’. One line of research is into producing chemicals such as 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BDO), 1,5-pentanediol (1,5-PDO) and 1,6-hexanediol (1,6-HDO) from wood chips.

This process Sankey diagram is from the research description page of the Maravelias group.


The red numbers relate to the carbon content in the process (starting with 100% carbon molecules in the feedstock, white birch wood). The coloring of the Sankey arrows is used to signal carbon concentration. And the height of the process nodes shows the cost share of a unit in the process (no absolute cost, just relatively to each other). Interesting! Read more here.

Also see: TriVersa process

Recently I have been reading about energy policies in Latin American countries. Quito-based OLADE, the inter-governmental Organización Latinoamericana de Energía plays a key role in coordination and cooperation between countries in regard to energy.

OLADE has also established the SIER (Sistema de Información Energética Regional), and one of their products is SieLAC (Sistema de Información Energética de Latinoamérica Latina y el Caribe) where energy data for 27 countries can be accessed.

For all countries the national energy balance (Balance Energético Nacional, BEN) can be produced as Sankey diagrams for the years 2005 through to 2010. Further, these energy flows can also be shown for regions, such as the Caribbean, the Andean countries or the “Southern Cone”.

Here is the one for Argentina in 2010.

To try for yourself, just go to the sieLAC page and click on ‘Balance Energético Resumido’. Then select country, year and the unit.
Unfortunately, data for more recent years is not available at this time.

This work of OLADE has inspired me to start a loose mini-series of posts titled ‘LatAm BEN’ where I will be showing Sankey diagrams representing national energy balances from the region. Don’t worry, they will not all be from SieLAC, and will show how differently BENs can look like.

I would love to get a copy of the book shown in the picture below… but then it is probably just a symbolic photo of someone studying the energy balance of a country (the caption reads “Energy Flows Year 1996”).


This find has inspired me to a new mini-series of posts on national energy balances shown as Sankey diagrams with a focus on Latin America. Coming soon…

The below Sankey diagrams both show wood biomass flows for Finland for the year 2013.

The first one was published in the report VTT Technology 237 ‘Sustainability of forest energy in Northern Europe’ by researchers from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).


Authors of this figure are Eija Alakangas and Janne Keränen. The diagram is oriented top-to-bottom and shows how the 104.4 Mm³ of round wood that grew in Finnish woods in 2013 were used. Basically there are two (three) main pathways, with a lot of arrows branching out to depict certain uses. 38.3 Mm³ of round wood was used in pulp industry, 26.2 Mm³ in the mechanical wood industry. Another 9.5 Mm³ of wood is used directly for energy generation.

The second Sankey diagram seems to be a remake of the above. It was published in a VTT Research Report on ‘Cascading use of wood in Finland – with comparison to selected EU countries’ by Laura Sokka, Kati Koponen, Janne T. Keränen.


Here the overall orientation is left-left-to right. The color scheme seems similar. There are some minor differences in the energy use part (orange and dark red arrows).

The first diagram has some images and comes across a little more playful than the second one. Although they depict the same data, I perceive them quite differently.
Is it due to the scaling or the vertical vs. horizontal orientation? Let me know your impression in the comments please.

The Niche Canada blog ran an interesting piece by Juan Infante-Amate from Unversity Pablo de Olavide in Spain titled ‘The largest tree crop concentration in Europe: The making of olive landscapes in Southern Spain’. It is a summary of research done on the changes in olive cultivation in Andalusia from traditional olive growing in the 18th century to today’s industrialized production.

The post features these three schematic Sankey diagrams. Data is for one specific site:


(licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License)

The above are three snapshots of the energy flows of one production site in Andalusia in 1750, around 1900 and today. By relating the final product quantity (FP) to the total input of energy or work (TI) the researchers are trying to measure sustainability with the indicator FEROI. An indeed, “[e]verything suggests that over the course of the history of Mediterranean landscapes these current conditions have been the least sustainable.”

Interesting approach and use of Sankey diagrams to compare a sustainability indicator. References to the full research papers can be found at the end of Infante-Amate’s Niche Canada post.

Denmark’s Energy Flows for the year 2016 were published by Danish Energy Agency (‘Energistyrelsen’).

For detail, I recommend to study the high-quality image of the Sankey diagam in this PDF.

Flows are in petajoule (PJ). Smaller flows are shown with a minimum width, so they are not to scale with the others, but remain visible. Even zero flows are shown, either because there is actually a quantity (less than 1 PJ) that is just rounded, or, because in other years there might be a flow quantity available for them. Arrows arrive at the nodes separately, their flow labels shown inside the node. This feature enhances legibility quite a bit.

Also see this 2012 post on a Denmark 2050 Nuclear Free Energy Scenario.

How much plastic is being recycled, how much is being incinerated, and how much ends up discarded as waste on landfills (or eventually in the oceans)? This Sankey diagram shows the paths that 8300 million tons (or 8.3 billion tons) of plastic produced since 1950 have taken.

Figure (licensed under CC-BY-SA) by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser at the great ‘Our World in Data’ website under the ‘Plastic Pollution’ topic.