Category: Samples

Cogeneration Sankey

Just a quick casual Friday post. Found this Sankey diagram from a Czech website in my bookmarks.

It shows that in a cogeneration unit with recovery of heat energy from engine water cooling and exhaust gas cooling, an overall efficiency of 85,4% can be achieved, and losses can be reduced to 14,6%.

Don’t ask me what the accompanying text means, I just understand that ‘Kogenerace’ is ‘cogeneration’. Note Nov 2011: I noticed that after an update the original page with the image is not available any more on motorgaz.cz

Utility / Nonutility Sankey for Electricity

DOEs Energy Information Administration (EIA) produces a lot of energy statistics, and they often use Sankey diagrams to illustrate energy flows.

One of their Sankey diagrams that dates back to 1999 has an interesting two-part structure. It actually is made up from two Sankey diagrams, which are connected by one flow. Values are in quadrillion BTUs.

The top part of the diagram shows electricity produced from various sources, losses along the production line, and the consumption of the electricity in the “Residential”, “Commercial” and “Industrial” sectors. This is structured very similarly to other Sankey diagrams EIA publishes annually (example).

The bottom part shows another Sankey diagram for electricity produced by ‘Nonutility Power Producers’. So what exactly are these NPPs?

A corporation, person, agency, authority, or other legal entity or instrumentality that owns electric generating capacity and is not an electric utility. Nonutility power producers include qualifying cogenerators, qualifying small power producers, and other nonutility generators (including independent power producers) without a designated franchised service area, and which do not file forms listed in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 18, Part 141. (Source)

Half of the electricity produced by Nonutility Power Producers in 1999 was fed into the grid, while the other half was consumed on-site. I imagine these are typically larger industrial facilities, that have their own power generation. The fact that nuclear energy appears in this section does irritates me a little bit, but as this page explains, the reason is probably a nuclear reactor in a national research laboratory, that is accounted for here.

Sankey for Phosphorus Flows and their Origins

A paper on ‘Guiding BMP adoption to improve Water Quality in various Estuarine Ecosystems in Western Australia’ by Nardia Keipert from the University of Western Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Food shown on the ARWA Ecohydrology website features a Sankey diagram on phosphorus flow in a catchment area.

The stacked Sankey arrows show “the relative contribution from each land use sector”. The origins of the nutrients are cattle for dairy, cattle for beef, mixed grazing, horses, and others. From statistical data on nutrient use efficiency, which ranged from 10 to 50 %, the researchers estimated the accumulation of phosphorus in the soil and streams, and the final delivery into the ocean.

The Sankey diagram does look kind of … errh, how should I say, …. “different”. But this is mainly due to the fact that flows that accumulate in a storage branch off to the side. The arrow magnitudes are actually to scale. To check this, add the horizontal flow to the storage and the vertical flow.

The full report is here, the Sankey diagram is shown on page 8.

Update: see my followup post to this

3D Sankey Diagram from WBCSD

The World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in an article on “Making Tomorrow’s Building’s More Energy Efficient” features a great three-dimensional Sankey Diagram, to illustrate that “more than 90% of the energy extracted from the ground is wasted before it becomes useful work”. The article calls for green buildings where energy is produced onsite, and losses are minimized.

The Sankey arrows representing the losses bend down sharply, they remind me of the Iguazu Falls. Neat 3D images of the equipment are placed on the diagram to visualize the process steps where energy is lost. The whole thing hovers over the ground throwing a faint shade. The graphic designer who did this really merits an applause.

If ever I launch a ‘Best Sankey Diagram Award”, this one will have good chances to win it. Any sponsors out there? Any volunteers for the award jury?

Another Greenhouse Effect Sankey Diagram

On Wiki Commons I discovered a different Sankey diagram image for the greenhouse effect than the one I presented in a previous post. The diagram is titled ‘sun climate system’, which seems appropriate.

The values are in Watt per square meters. Labels are in German, but if you want to know what they mean, just go to the original Earth Observer (Nov/Dec 2006 Vol. 18 Issue 6) PDF file by NASA and check out page 38.

Energy Losses in Small Fish Trawler Operations

In a report on “Fuel and financial savings for operators of small fishing vessels” by J.D.K. Wilson from Maputo, Mozambique (available on the FAO website), the author explains that in a small slow-speed vessel, only approximately 35% of the energy created from the burning of fuel can actually be utilized to run the propeller, thus can be “spent on useful work such as pulling the net”.

I have “translated” the given values into a Sankey diagram, using the original image as a background layer. This works quite fine, apart from the very thin (1%) flow of friction losses.

On a side note: this is the first time I am presenting a right-to-left oriented Sankey diagram on this blog.

The author concludes, that energy can be saved on the engine and transmission, however the mode of operation (e.g. to reduce the effect of wave resistance), and hull maintenance also play a role. Read more interesting details.

A different power Sankey diagram…

Kevin Deegan-Krause, an Associate Professor of Political Science at Wayne State University has contacted me with a fascinating idea and a unique example of a Sankey diagram. He writes: “I accidentally “reinvented” the Sankey wheel quite awhile ago for a rather odd usage: political party ebb and flow in E. Europe.”

This diagram he presented in a recent post on his Pozorblog shows how parliament seats were allocated to the different parties in the Slovakian parliament from 1990 to 2008, and how seats were shuffled during the six elections that took place during that time.

“As with energy, the number of party seats in parliament is a closed system and there are flows from some to others. This is a highly modified usage, of course, as we do not know in a precise way “where” votes go from one election to the next, so we just fudge at the day of election and just start over (or have invisible reallocations).”

Have a look, for example at the brown brown arrow: The HZDS party has clearly been on the loosing track. On the other hand SMER (shown in orange), a party that emerged as a spin-off from SDL (pink) in 2000, could gain a significant number of seats in the 2002 elections, when SDL couldn’t make it into Slovakian parliament any more. Others pretty much remained stable in their number of seats over the whole observation period.

I am not sure if Kevin uses the “official” colors of the parties (wouldn’t mind tossing my vote for the pink party 😉 ), but a color clustering would also allow to visualize if left, or right, or liberal, or whatever political direction gets stronger or weaker. It would also be a possibility to see, if there is an overall trend in a certain group of countries, such as Eastern Europe, or the apparent growth of socialism in South America.

I am calling for votes on how to name this special type of Sankey diagram. If the first Sankey diagram was for steam power, why not a power Sankey diagram? 😉

World Internet Bandwith Sankey

The cutting of two submarine internet cables in the Mediterranean Sea at the end of January, and another one in the Persian Gulf a few days later, was widely reported in the news. The cuts affected internet services and call center operations in large parts of the Middle East and India, sparking discussions about emergency backup plans for offshore software development.

This reminded me of the internet traffic maps I had seen on the Web before. These are available as traffic load maps as well as bandwidth capacity maps of the backbone infrastructure.

Indeed these maps can be considered as fine examples of Sankey diagrams, with bi-directional (or non-directional?) arrows whose magnitude represent the bandwidth of the transcontinental internet cables. Additional arrow colors could be used, for example, to represent ownership or operation of the cable by different companies.

At the same time the Sankey maps may also serve to indicate communication technology development in different world regions.

BTW, if you want to stick one of these maps prominently on your office wall, they are available as posters here.