If you don’t use Sankey diagram software and only have Power Point at hand, this is probably what your national energy flow diagram turns out. 😉


Arrow widths are more or less to scale, which is good. But the overall aspect of this Sankey diagram is unorganized, due to diagonal and overlapping arrows. No flow units given.

A Sankey diagram of a cogeneration equipment from the website of Italian firm Altavia:

Came across the below Sankey diagram showing the energy balance for Italy in 2004. This diagram is from the website of the Italian company InterEnergy.

The setup of the Sankey diagram is similar to the other national energy flow diagrams I have shown in previous posts here on the blog, such as this one for Spain, these two for the United Kingdom, or here for the United States.

The breakdown on the left side shows the fuel types: natural gas (‘Metano’), oil (‘Petrolio’), coal (‘Carboni’), and the renewable energy sources in green. The separate grey flow shows energy imports. Both, percentage values in reference to the primary energy content, as well as absolute figures (in Mtep – million tons of petroleum equivalents, ‘milioni di tonnellate equivalenti di petrolio’ in Italian) are given. Part of the fuels is consumed directly in the different final use sectors (‘usi finali’), a part is used to generate electric energy (blue), and heat (orange). Some of the heat is used through cogeneration, but the major part is lost.

Came across densitydesign’s images on flickr and was really fascinated by the visualizations presented there.

Density Design is a research framework and an experimental laboratory, born as a laboratory course in the final year of the Master Degree Course in Communication Design at the Politecnico di Milano.

One of their recent projects was on social conditions and poverty in Italy. Some of the visualizations that were created in the course of this project resemble Sankey diagrams, and this is why I thought I should share them with you.




The designers had several dimensions of information they wanted to put into the visualization of statistical data on poverty in Italy. The four shown above chose bands of proportional widths to display the numbers rather than pie charts. In contrast to Sankey diagrams these are not flows, because they are not directed. The works by Luca Rossi (2nd above) and Elena Capolongo (4th above, my personal favourite) try to link the quantities to regions using a map of Italy.

A nice followup project would be to display the migration movements from Southern Italy to the North and abroad due to the social conditions, as previously reported about here.

Density Design has kindly granted permission to show these visualizations here. Read the summary (Project progress report 01. Economic statistic & Communication Design) and learn about their other projects on the Density Design blog. I am adding them to the blogroll too.