Steve Bogart has released a website for autoMATICally creating simple horizontal distribution diagrams. No need to install a tool, just go to sankeymatic.com and enter your values. On each line define source node, quantity in square brackets, destination node (e.g. “Budget [450] Housing” or “Budget [300] Food”). Columns and bands will be created automatically.

A number of options can be set, such as colors, spacing and labels. Finally, when you have created your diagram you can download it directly (three sizes/resolutions available).

This simple online tool is based on the open source tool D3.js and its Sankey library.

Try it out yourself!

I have added SankeyMATIC to the list of software tools for Sankey diagrams (seriously thinking about creating an own group for d3.js-based products).

An energy flow chart for energy use in the residential building sector is shown on the Autodesk Sustainability Workshop page ‘Measuring Building Energy Use’. There is also a similar Sankey diagram for energy sources consumption in the commercial building sector.

Both are taken from a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) report from 2006 prepared for Department of Energy (DOE) titled ‘Energy End-Use Flow Maps for the Buildings Sector by D.B. Belzer (PNNL-16263).

Residential building sector energy flow chart:

Commercial building sector energy flow chart:

Both Sankey diagrams are built up the same way. The top part of each diagram shows electricity generation, the bottom part the energy flows for heating. Significant conversion and transmission losses can be identified by the arrow branching out at the top. Flows from the left represent the energy sources: coal (brown), natural gas (blue), biomass/solar (green). To the right the flows are broken down to the individual consumption, such as heating, cooling, lighting, other electric appliances, etc.

All units are in quadrillion BTUs for the U.S in 2004.

An article on the Polish website ekoenergia.pl titled ‘Rozwój biopaliw – efektywniejsze rolnictwo cz.2′ by Prof. Dr. Włodzimierz Kotowski shows the following Sankey diagram.

The process system shown is a re-esterification of rapeseed oil with methanol. Flows are mass flows shown in kilograms. Methanol is shown in blue. It is re-used and fed back into the process.

Anyone who speaks Polish who can explain further?

Too many colors in the Sankey diagrams posted recently?

Here are two unicolor ones from the Exergy Design Joint Research Lab at Osaka University in Japan. Not that I understand much, but apparently the one at the top is for a gas engine system.

No absolute values given, so just a schematic representation of the flows.

This Sankey diagram is from a research project at Bayreuth University (Germany) on latent thermal storage and heat pumps. Read the project summary here (in German).

Flows show percentage shares, not absolute values. LTTT watermark in the background is from the insitute where the project was run.

The below is a section from a larger Sankey diagram by Adrián Chiogna, shown at visualize.org. This is for budget flow and activity based costing.

Check out the full image at visualize.org.

Dutch tech consulting firm ‘Water and Energy Solutions’ looks at optimization opportunities and cost saving potential in industrial production sites.

Their services offer is advertised with this sample Sankey diagram.

Their approach called “Flux Technology” is a methodology that “first considers a production site at the largest possible scope, focusing primarily on intersecting process and utility streams. At different scope levels we analyze site, plant(s), unit operations, equipment and general operations both qualitatively as well as quantitatively.”

Air pollution in Beijing, with orange alerts and high health risks made the news (again) recently.

One measure discussed to reduce pollution levels is to issue a partial ban for cars on the streets. This would certainly reduce some of the pressure, however, I am not quite sure whether this would significantly help improve the situation.

Looking at this 2005 energy flow Sankey diagram for China from World Resources Sim Center, one notices that the largest chunk of energy produced in China is from coal.

The energy from coal consumed in 2005 (purple boxes) was seven times higher than the energy consumed in the transportation sector (1.450 million tonnes of coal equivalent vs 230 million tonnes of coal equivalent, if I interpret this correctly). That is without counting losses that occur both at power stations as well as in vehicle engines.

Of course one might argue that traffic probably has risen enormously since 2005. I checked the latest available data for China (2011) at the International Energy Agency (IEA) website where you can access the national energy flow diagrams for more than 100 countries.

It confirms that both coal and petroleum consumption have risen, but coal is still predominant. Transportation makes up for “only” roughly 200 Mtoe (Millions of tonnes of oil equivalent) out of 1644 Mtoe final consumption, while the significant consumption is in industry and ‘other’ (probably private home heating).

So, even if burning of coal and gasoline has different levels of pollution (e.g. through efficient filtering technolgy), my guess is that the main reason for the smog in China are the coal-fired power plants and industrial furnaces. Reducing vehicle traffic will not lead to reduced coal-burning.

Anyone has data on GHG emissions from different sources in China? (preferably as a Sankey diagram….).