Tag: U.S.

Virginia Natural Gas Flow Sankey

The Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virgina Tech has a website on Virgina Energy Patterns and Trends (VETP).

This summary page on natural gas features a Sankey diagram for natural gas flows in Virginia in 2005.


Flows are in million cubic feet. Note that the division line between dry gas production (88.610 million cubic feet) and interstate imports (1.114.460 million cubic feet) overemphasizes VA’s own production. Also the magnitude of the “consumption” flow and “interstate exports” are not to scale, probably owed to the desire of the designer to be able to split up the consumption arrow into separate arrows. The transportation arrow is exaggerated, and would only be a thin line if to scale.

On the VETP summary page for coal, there is another interesting Sankey, also for 2005.

The second one also has some pecularities: The Sankey arrows for imports (15.764 thousand short tons) and exports (21.288 thousand short tons) of coal are not to scale, neither are the losses/unaccounted coal flows 4.951 thousand short tons.

Reminder to self: If I find the time I’ll do these two diagrams properly and to scale.

The man behind Sankey diagrams @ LLNL

The Council on Competitiveness has just called on the presidential candidates to come up with a national energy plan, believing that future economic growth and security of the United States depends on energy efficiency across the U.S. economy, sustainable energy solutions, and development of new technologies.

The new president might want to ask John Ziagos to advise him on energy issues. Ziagos is with the Energy & Environment Directorate at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, and an expert for energy scenarios. For me as a Sankey aficionado he is simply the “man behind the Sankey diagrams at LLNL”.

LLNL has been publishing energy flow diagrams for the U.S. over the last few years. In his public presentations (link1 – 2.9 MB, link2 – 4.8 MB) Ziagos impressively shows that even when implementing fuel cell technology for all vehicles, switching completely from coal and natural gas to renewable energy sources to generate the nation’s electricity, and building 270 new nuclear power plants … even then it would not be possible to stabilize U.S. carbon emissions between now and 2050. “If we want to move toward a carbonless future, no single technology will do – everything counts.” Ziagos says.

I am reproducing two energy flow diagrams for the U.S. from John’s presentations below. The first is for 1976…

… the second a 2025 projection:

While overall energy produced will rise from 72 Quads in 1976 to an estimated 133 Quads p.a. in 2025 [Note: 1 Quad(rillion) equal to 10E15 BTU, or 1.055 × 10E18 joules (1.055 exajoules or EJ) in SI units.], the ratio of useful energy to rejected energy gets worse.

U.S. Freshwater Withdrawals in 2000

I had bookmarked a number of Sankey diagrams a while ago when visiting the website of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. These diagrams on energy, CO2 and freshwater are a great source of information. You can, for example, find the typical energy Sankey diagrams (like the one in my previous post) for the U.S. all the way back to 1950, 1960 and 1970 and then from 1973 to today.

Summer is coming closer, and we can again expect water shortage in some states. So the Sankey diagram I have selected for presentation today (original PDF), is for freshwater withdrawals in the year 2000.

The overall extraction was 345.000 Mgal/day (roughly 1.3 bio litres per day) with approximately 75 % from surface water and 25 % from ground water. Another 62.300 Mgal/day of saline water is withdrawn for thermoelectric use.

The largest portion of the water is for irrigation, livestock and aquaculture, closely followed by the water used in thermoelectric power generation. Domestic self-supply is a comparatively marginal 3,590 Mgal/day (1,04 %), which makes my Mom’s call to “close the tap” sound somewhat ridiculous.

A Sankey for Energy Generation in the U.S.

Joshua Rosenau over at scienceblogs took up on the energy topic in his ‘Thoughts from Kansas‘ and presents a Sankey diagram for the U.S. energy distribution (The Problem of Energy Generation) from an article in Science (Whitesides and Crabtree: Don’t Forget Long-Term Fundamental Research in Energy, Science 9 February 2007:Vol. 315. no. 5813, 796-798). It shows that more than 55% of the energy produced is lost, mainly in transmission and distribution on the grid (approx 25%) and another 30% in transport-related combustion of petrol [Note to self: do a Sankey diagram comparison for 1911 race car and modern light vehicle].

“…over half of the energy produced for our domestic market goes to waste. Fully two thirds of the energy produced by electrical generation and distribution goes to waste.”

This Sankey diagram shows the energy carriers on the left side, the sectors where energy is consumed (noteworthy: traffic has a larger share than industry) as midpoint groups, and a breakdown to useful and lost energy on the right.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the U.S.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) publishes an annual report on the Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the US economy. The executive summary of the 2005 report shows a Sankey diagram on page xv.

This Sankey diagram shows on the left side the different sources of CO2 (mainly combustibles), and on the right hand side the industrial sectors (residential, commercial, industrial and transport) that contribute to the CO2 release. Emissions are in million ton CO2-equivalents.

The original Sankey diagram from the report has been reproduced with the e!Sankey software, and is shown below. Footnotes have been omitted, for full detail please refer to the original source.