What it takes to power a (light) bulb, and Sankey Diagrams

Kevin Anderson has a chart he uses to argue for demand-side reduction of energy use as a powerful way to achieve emission reductions of greenhouse gases. That chart is:
It is derived from the IPCC AR4 Working Group 3 Report, in Chapter 4, as Figure 4.3, and it cites Professor Don Cleland of Massey University as a reference. A presentation containing the same figure was made at the 2006 IPS Roundable, and is reproduced below:
What it shows is that to produce electricity going into powering a lamp (sometimes called “end-use energy”) a unit of lighting, 98% of the generated energy (sometimes called “net generation”) is lost and over 99% of the energy in the original fuels are lost (sometimes called “primary energy”). The figure also shows that 75% of the generation energy is lost during transmission to the residence housing the light bulb. This is derived from Professor Massey’s contribution to the proceedings of the the 2004 People and energy: how do we use it? New Zealand conference including an analysis of light bulbs using Sankey diagrams. The application to a light bulb is described at a Web site devoted to applying these diagrams. It includes:
Accordingly, if energy is generated at the residence,
There are even dynamic versions of these diagrams available, for instance, this one considering heating of a home:

Naturally, the same kind of diagram can be constructed for wind turbines:

This is taken from Koroneos and Katopodi, 2006.

(Update, 20th April 2016)

Sankey diagrams also have uses in Statistics, Data Science, and Machine Learning, as Simon Raper shows. And see here for many examples of Sankey diagrams. For instance,
(Click on image to see a much larger picture, and use your browser Back Button to return to blog.)

(Update, 23rd May 2016)

It’s odd that, apparently, sophisticated financial analysts like Steve Cicala don’t understand the implications of Sankey inefficiencies. John Farrell responds.

About ecoquant

See https://wordpress.com/view/667-per-cm.net/ Retired data scientist and statistician. Now working projects in quantitative ecology and, specifically, phenology of Bryophyta and technical methods for their study.
This entry was posted in adaptation, Anthropocene, climate disruption, conservation, consumption, decentralized electric power generation, decentralized energy, demand-side solutions, Don Cleland, economics, efficiency, energy, energy reduction, energy utilities, engineering, environment, global warming, Hyper Anthropocene, investment in wind and solar energy, IPCC, maths, meteorology, microgrids, natural gas, physics, public utility commissions, PUCs, reasonableness, Sankey diagram, solar energy, solar power, SolarPV.tv, sustainability, thermodynamics, Tony Seba, wind energy, wind power, zero carbon. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to What it takes to power a (light) bulb, and Sankey Diagrams

  1. Pingback: Yeah but … | 667 per centimeter : climate science, quantitative biology, statistics, and energy policy

  2. Pingback: LLNL Sankey diagram of U.S. national energy flows in 2017: What’s possible, what’s not, and who’s responsible | Hypergeometric

  3. Pingback: Why Salem Harbor Power — or any methane-powered electricity — is a big mistake | Hypergeometric

  4. Pingback: The Patch blows O’Donnell’s “alert on solar panels” out of proportion, botches it, and deletes my comment correcting them | Hypergeometric

  5. Nena says:

    Very neat diagrams!! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Pingback: reblog: “The Big 3: CO2, CH4, N2O”, from Tamino | Hypergeometric

  7. Pingback: A Sankey diagram showing influence of big oil on climate policy | Hypergeometric

  8. Pingback: The rationale for reducing Net Metering is based both on unsound math and unsound physics | Hypergeometric

  9. Pingback: On generating close to point of consumption | Hypergeometric

  10. Pingback: Causal Diagrams | Hypergeometric

Leave a reply. Commenting standards are described in the About section linked from banner.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.