The Foreseer Tool - Analysing Energy, Land and Water Resource Futures through Sankey Diagrams

November 10, 2011 - 1:30pm
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The BP funded Foreseer project at the University of Cambridge is creating a tool to visualise the influence of future demand and policy choices on the coupled physical requirements for energy, water and land resources in a region of interest. The basis of the tool is a set of linked physical descriptions of energy, water and land, plus the technologies that transform those resources into final services – e.g. housing, food, transport and goods. The tool has a modular structure, with the potential to incorporate specialised analyses or models to calculate future demand, climate change, technological change, or other effects of relevance to the user. The tool will show resource shortages and other indicators of stress (e.g., ecosystem services) as a result of user inputs. The Foreseer tool allows visualisation of linked resource futures by drawing a set of Sankey diagrams for energy, water and land, showing the flow from basic resource (e.g. coal, surface water, and forested land) through transformations (e.g. fuel refining and desalination) to final services (e.g. sustenance, hygiene and transportation). The prototype Foreseer tool focuses on energy, water and land use in California because of the abundance of data available. This prototype has allowed the development of the relevant tools to convert between global and regional data. The Foreseer tool is structured to allow future extension to other regions, spatial and temporal scales, and resources. The Principal Investigator of the project is Dr. Julian Allwood.

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