Probably inspired by one of the many energy flow Sankey diagrams, such as the one shown in my last post, Kelsey Bixler of the ‘This blog is a system.’ blog has decided to make her own, quite personal hand-drawn diagram. This seems to have been part of an assignment. Kelsey “analyzed the various activities that involved the consumption of energy in a four hour period” of a typical weekday, including her activities at home, the trip to work, and her job at Chick’s Oyster Bar.

She writes: “Below is a “Sankey Diagram” inspired diagram of the networking between the extractors, distributors and users of energy, myself including, that I have described above.”

Now, who still says that we can’t do a Sankey diagram that shows the energy consumption caused by an individual?

Of course, the actual quantities are not shown in Kelseys diagram, but it would be safe to say that this image is more or less true for an average American, who has a car, lives in a house and uses industry products. As a rough estimate I would just divide the 98 quads (mentioned as the overall primary energy demand in the 2010 U.S. Energy Sankey diagram) by the roughly 308 Mio. citizens. The proportions of the Sankey arrows would most likely stay the same.

“From the body to the world” … every single one of us contributes to the big picture, and it is up to each of us to make this picture look different.

Check out NETL January 2012 newsletter. It features a Sankey diagram with the 2010 data on U.S. Energy Flows. Publication details are here.


Download high res version of the Sankey diagram (large PDF) here.

This was prepared by Eric Shuster and is an update to the Sankey diagrams published annually by LLNL. It has the energy carriers on the left, energy conversion in the middle, and energy use sectors on the right. Primary energy consumption in the U.S. in 2010 is estimated to have amounted to 98 quads (quadrillion BTUs).

“NETL energy analysts have produced for the public a set of Sankey diagrams based on data obtained from the Annual Energy Review 2010 recently released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Graphically representing both quantity and direction, the diagrams place in perspective the relative contributions of major domestic energy sources as well as the flow of fossil fuels around the world.

The “Estimated U.S. Energy Use in 2010″ flow diagram shows the quantity of fuels used to drive each of the sectors in the United States. Overall, 83 percent of the primary energy consumed in the U.S. is from fossil fuels and downstream, due to conversion efficiencies, 89 percent of the total energy delivered to the end-used sectors is derived from fossil fuels.”

The news item also has a link to another presentation ny NETL featuring global coal and gas related flows as Sankey diagrams. These are interesting as will and I will present them here in the near future. Update: Coal is here, natural gas still to come.

Another interactive Sankey diagram for U.S. Energy Flows (similar to the one by Bloomberg’s David Yanofsky) also based on the LLNL Energy Sankey Diagram can be found on a web page of The National Academy of Sciences. Visitors can explore the energy mix and consumption.

Click here to visit web page and start exploring…

Flows are in quadrillion BTUs or ‘quads’. The footnote reads:

Hydro, wind, and solar electricity inputs are expressed using fossil-fuel plants’ heat rate to more easily account for differences between the conversion efficiency of renewables and the fuel utilization for combustion- and nuclear-driven systems. This enables hydro, wind, and solar to be counted on a similar basis as coal, natural gas, and oil. For this reason, the sum of the inputs for electricity differs slightly from the displayed total electricity output. Distributed electricity represents only retail electricity sales and does not include self-generation. The efficiency of electricity production is calculated as the total retail electricity delivered divided by the primary energy input into electricity generation. End use efficiency is estimated as 80% for residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, and as 25% for the transportation sector.

Nice graphics and a good idea to convey “What You Need To Know About Energy”.

In a post on the winners of the SND 31 competition over at the Infographics News Blog I found the below diagram on the President’s Budget. Originally published by the Washington Post it has won an Award of Excellence in the 31st edition of the Society of News Design contest in the Infographics / Breaking News section.

It is not really a Sankey diagram, since the arrows are not explicitly directed. But it has weighted arrows/bands, in this case representing $$$. This infographic was maybe inspired by this one from Spain that was – after lengthy discussion – named a “distribution diagram”.

I cropped the lower part of the infographic that had details on the deficit as bar chart. See original, full infographic file here.

Two more infographics in this post have characteristics of Sankey diagrams, and I might post them here on the Sankey Diagrams blog, if I run out of ideas one day…

A notice on scoop.it/visualdata led me to this fascinating video on visualnews. It shows the making of an infographic in two minutes or 3657 frames and is by Jess Bachmann for mint.com.

The central element of the infographic is a Sankey diagram on the trade flows between the United States and China (and to/from other countries).

it is interesting to see how Jess did every weighted arrow as a brush line with rounded head (the heads are neatly hidden behind the country maps, or capped at the other end). Each horizontal, vertical and curved segment is done individually.

In the YouTube comments of the long version of this video the author replied to one commenter: “After determining a metric, i.e 1 pixel width = $1M, I then stroked a line with the corresponding size brush. A $34M item would have a 34px width line. At one point you can even see a calculator popping up (0:55 into the video).

The long (7 minute) version has a lot more details on how the infographic comes to life. You can even see that Jess keeps saving his work from time to time…

Wow, what a hell lot of work – but the result sure looks gorgeous.

I calculated that Jess took more than 10h to complete this: 3657 frames, ten seconds between each frame = 36570 sec, 3600 seconds to an hour, makes 10.16 hours! I am just glad I have my Sankey diagramming software, so at least I don’t have to bother about brush sizes.

David Yanofsky from the Bloomberg Newsroom advised me of a Sankey Diagram he did on U.S. Energy Flows. The diagram is based on the well-known Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) diagrams and shows the 94.6 quads (1 quad = 1 quadrillion BTUs) estimated energy use in the United States in 2009.

The Sankey diagram has a nice mouse over effect, that let’s the user explore the stream as they are highlighted in different colors. The nodes show the contribution from different carriers. Additional information is available when positioning the mouse over the orange bullets. This makes the diagram fun to explore…

In this image the lost energy is highlighted in red.

In the above screenshot the energy flows based on petroleum are shown in brown color, all other flows in light grey.

These are only two static screenshots, please go over to the Bloomberg site to see more.

From Fei-Ling Tseng’s design blog comes this Sankey diagram. Her post is on some visualizations and infographics done for a project on water economies/ecologies of the Colorado River water system.

The diagram shows the distribution of water from the Colorado river to different lower basin states (Nevada, Arizona, California), “export” to Mexico and a breakdown to irrigation areas within California. The quantities are in acre feet (a.f.). Underlying data is from the Colorado River Accounting and Water Use Report 2009.

Simple, beautiful, conveying the message … and a single white water-drop as catchy design element.

Blog reader Johan Land submitted the Sankey diagram below. “As I am interested in the energy field I especially was fascinated by the LLNL graph over US energy consumption. I spent the weekend on further enhancing the LLNL graph using a trial version of e!Sankey (and data that I have gathered the last few years). I’m attaching the PNG-file for this graph. Feel free to share it if you like the graph!”


(click image to enlarge)

The typical LLNL graph has been extended by the red section on the left that shows a world energy breakdown. Only the U.S. energy consumption is traced further.
The second extension is the pink section. Here, Johan has broken down the energy use sectors ‘Residential’, ‘Commercial’, ‘Industrial’ and ‘Transportation’ in one or two further steps.

All flows are in TWh, data is from 2005 to 2009. The author used several additional data sources and recompiled the data, so that “figures may differ from Lawrence Livermore Laboratory estimations”. See notes for further information.

Good Sankey diagram, and definitely a great job Johan did here. The only suggestion I have, is to add percentage figures to the regional energy breakdown (red section on the left). Unfortunately, the watermark spoils the overall impression, but this is owed to the fact that he used a free trial version.

Johan also mentioned that he is working on forecasts up to 2050, and an animated GIF “running it over time since 1950 up until 2008”. Hope to be able to show you these here on the blog someday.