Month: January 2009

Swiss Biomass Sankey Diagrams

Gabor Doka pointed me to a publication by the Swiss EPA (Federal Office for the Environment, FOEN). The publication titled “Biogene Güterflüsse der Schweiz 2006” (‘Flows of biogenic goods in Switzerland in 2006’) features many different Sankey diagrams. “Biogenic goods are defined as goods of biological origin, excluding those of fossil origin”. Data is based on Swiss statistical figures and valid for 2006. Available in German only (Download PDF 7,5 MB).

The overall structure of biomass flows is given in a generic layout and as Sankey diagrams with proportional arrow magnitudes for mass flows (unit is in 1000 tons, based on dry matter) as well as for energy content (in GWh, based on lower heat value of dry matter). These overview diagrams are structured in three columns ‘Production’, ‘Conversion’, and ‘Use/Disposal’. Imports are from top, exports to the bottom. This very clear structure for both mass and energy flows makes the complex diagrams easier to comprehend. These overview Sankey diagrams are available for download as a separate PDF file (still 3,2 MB)

The main diagram is then broken down into individual Sankey diagrams for the different sectors involved, such as plant production (PLB), animal farming (THA), and forestry (WAW) in the production column (orange colored processes), or food industry (LMI) and wood/paper industry (HPI) in the conversion sector (green colored process). Finally, in the use/disposal sector (red colored processes) we find goods consumption (WAK) along with energy generation and waste treatments.

This is the sectoral Sankey diagram for the food industry in Switzerland. We can see that a large part of the biomass for food production is imported, and that most production wastes are fed back into animal farming again. The red boxes are different waste treatments receiving input from the food industry.

The above is the goods consumption section. Main biogenic goods inputs are from food industry and wood/paper industry. The meat input is rather small comparatively. A big chunk of the mass output (namely waste wood and waste paper) feeds back into the wood/paper industry. 472.000 tons ended up in waste incineration that year, some 329.000 tons in waste water.

The Sankey diagrams in the study are interesting to browse and reveal a lot more interesting facts. The stuctured approach with the breakdown into smaller diagrams is very useful. The authors Baier and Baum from ZHAW at Wädenswil have done a great job in compiling this.

“The results of this study will serve as useful decision aids for strategic planning and assessments concerning the potential, use and management of biogenic resources (…) makes it possible to detect quantitative changes that occurred during a given period of time and to reach conclusions concerning the efficiency of measures taken.

Actually this way of visualizing statistical data with directional (from-to) information attached to it could serve as a role model for other national mass and energy accounts, I think.

Uh – this has become my largest post ever 😮 . But I think this was well worth it and the publication merits it. Your comments appreciated.

Energy Balance of France

Found Sankey diagrams with the energy balances of France for several years, thanks to this Planète Bleue blog post.

These energy balances are apparently produced annually by French DGEC (Direction Général de Énergie et Climat) and are different from the energy flow Sankey diagrams for various countries I have shown here in other posts.

In these French energy balances the left side shows the primary energy (expressed in mégatonne équivalent pétrole Mtep, mega tonnes of oil equivalent Mtoe in English) broken down into the different sources, the right side shows the final consumption of energy with the same breakdown. The differences are the energy losses and internal consumption in energy generation.

The large losses for nuclear energy are explained in a footnote for the 2007 diagram, where it says that these can be attributed to the fact that ‘Observatoire de l’Énergie’ (OE) accounting standard is based on heat value:

L’importance des pertes dans le domaine de l’électricité tient largement au mode de calcul adopté depuis 2002 par l’OE: l’électricité d’origine nucléaire est comptabilisée, au niveau de la production, en termes de chaleur, dont les deux tiers sont perdus lors de la conversion en énergie

Nevertheless the Sankey diagram gives a good idea about the efficiency of energy generation for each of the different fuels and the energy mix for France.

For those of you who wish to compare the developments over the last years, here is what I have dug up so far:
2003 is shown on Planete Bleue in this post.
2004 is shown above
2006 can be found here on page 25 (PDF)
2007 can be found here on pages 6/7 (PDF)

Energy Management of Automobiles Sankey

Just returned from a short break … trying to get back into the regular blogging mode again. Here is a quick one from my bookmarks.

The Sankey diagram below illustrates a research project at Hannover University on energy management of automobiles. Similar to the Sankey diagram shown in this post it shows how total energy from gasoline is used in different components of a car.

The Sankey diagram is symbolic I assume, still one can see that large portions of the energy are lost in the exhaust gas (“Abgas”) and for motor cooling (“Kühler”). Flow quantities are given in Watt, not sure if that is per hour at a given speed or in idle mode.