Following up to my two previous posts on Iran’s Energy Flows and Iran’s Energy production and consumption, here is the third Sankey diagram I could find in the report ‘Iran and World Energy Facts and Figures, 2012’ published by Ministry of Energy (MOE) of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

It is on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by the energy sector in the country


This is interesting, as the setup is reversed in comparison to the typical energy flow diagrams we all know. Here, the consuming sectors are on the left, alongside the energy generation sector itself. The middle section of the diagram sorts the arrows by energy carrier that causes the GHG emissions: natural gas contributes 53% (orange) and petroleum products 45.6% (blue). The third column shows a breakdown into the gases CO2, CH4 and N20.

No absolute values are given in the diagram, the magnitude of the flow amount to 100%. However the detailed values can be found in the accompanying tables in the report: carbon dioxide with 556,866,000 tons, methane 57,000 tons and nitrous oxide 11,600 tons (all values for 2012). Mind that these are absolute values, so in order to understand the impact on climate change one would have to multiply with the respective emission factors for methane and laughing gas and normalize them to kg CO2-equivalents.

Just a quick post before the weekend: Visualization of the water cycle in the Netherlands by Gunjan Singh. See initial sketch and some comments here.


Quantities are in billion kg (=million tons). “The weight of the arrows depict the proportions most of the time”, exceptions are in the thin arrows at the right which would otherwise be fine hair lines only and almost invisible.

South China Sea has recently garnered increased media attention due to China reclaiming land and building an airfield on Fiery Cross Reef. The territorial dispute regarding Spratly Islands has been simmering since the 1970ies when oil was discovered in the region. South China Sea is also “one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world” with “more than half of the world’s supertanker traffic, by tonnage, pass[ing] through the region’s waters every year” (Wikipedia).

The Department of Energy has two interesting maps on their beta website showing LNG and crude oil transport for 2011.

Transport of liquefied natual gas (LNG) in trillions of cubic feet in the South China Sea:

Transport of petroleum in millions of barrels per day in the South China Sea in 2011:


(both maps from eia.gov website)

These are ‘Sankey-inspired maps’ rather than exact Sankey diagrams. Arrow widths are not maintained where the shipping routes pass through narrow straits. Nevertheless, transport volumes are generally on a correct scale.

German Fraunhofer IKTS research institute features a Sankey diagram for a SOFC fuel cell system in this PowerPoint presentation (held 2012 at the Lucerne Fuel Cell Forum).

Flows are in J/s, the power output has been converted to Watt. Some volume flows and parameters are given as additional information on the flows.

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).

An interesting Sankey diagram of sugar production can be found on p. 23 and p. 24 of the 2002 report ‘Möglichkeiten der Wertschöpfungssteigerung durch Abfallvermeidung (biogener Reststoffe) und Nebenproduktnutzung – Feasibilitystudy’ by Austrian researchers Herbert G. Böchzelt, Niv Graf, Robert W. Habel, Johann Lomsek, Susanne Wagner, Hans Schnitzer (all of Joanneum Research).

Why interesting? Because the diagram wouldn’t fit on one page in the report the authors decided to cut it in two parts. Two streams of the first diagram are continued in detail in the second Sankey diagram shown on the next page.


All flows are in mass percent based on an input of 100% sugar beets (‘Rübenschnitzel’, with -schnitzel apparently meaning ‘chips’). The output of 16 mass-% ‘Presschnitzel’ (pressed beet pulp) and 4.18 mass-% ‘Melasse’ (molasses) is further detailed in the second diagram.

Mind that arrow width is different in the two diagrams, so that they two can not be compared directly. Because water dominates the first diagram, the smaller mass flows of the second diagram would be barely visible, if the two were at the same scale.

A Swiss software company features a screenshot on their website, depicting a thermal energy model for a building. I’m not mentioning the source, because it is a bit embarassing…

Despite the general good impression of the diagram and the tech labelling of the arrows, the width of these arrows seems completely arbitrary. Well, to be fair … they don’t call it a Sankey diagram.