Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Energy Flow Charts:

Charting the Complex Relationships among
Energy, Water, and Carbon

Energy, Water, and Carbon Informatics

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) produced the first diagrams illustrating U.S. national commodity use in the mid-1970s. The most widely recognized of these charts is the U.S. energy flow chart. LLNL has also published charts depicting carbon (or carbon dioxide potential) flow and water flow at the national level as well as energy, carbon, and water flows at the international, state, municipal, and organizational (e.g., Air Force) level. Flow charts, also referred to as Sankey Diagrams, are single-page references that contain quantitative data about resource, commodity, and byproduct flows in a graphical form. These flow charts help scientists, analysts, and other decision makers to visualize the complex interrelationships involved in managing our nation’s resources.

In the news

"How to read an energy flowchart." A YouTube video

Americans using more energy according to Lawrence Livermore analysis
LLNL news release, April 2, 2014.

Energy Goes With the Flow
Science and Technology Review, September 2009.


The 2015 energy flow chart released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory details the sources of energy production, how Americans are using energy and how much waste exists. (click to image to enlarge or click here for a PDF version).