Exploring energy flows embodied in China's economy from the regional and sectoral perspectives via combination of multi-regional input–output analysis and a complex network approach

Miaohan Tang, Jingke Hong, Guiwen Liu, Geoffrey Qiping Shen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid urbanization has produced considerable energy demands in China and increased pressure on sustainable development. Therefore, investigating the embodied energy flows induced by China's modern economy is important. By integrating the multi-regional input–output (MRIO) model with the complex network approach, this study builds two embodied energy flow networks (EEFNs) from the regional and sectoral perspectives. The small-world nature is explored in the current EEFN by assessing the average clustering coefficient and average path length. Findings indicate that any disturbance occurring in key nodes or flows can generate substantial effects on the whole embodied energy system. From a regional perspective, Guangdong, Hebei, Jiangsu, Shanghai, and Zhejiang consistently rank highest in terms of centrality indices. From a sectoral perspective, the chemical industry, the smelting and pressing of metals, the transportation, storage, posts and telecommunications, and the manufacture of general and special purpose machinery are highly connected sectors in the EEFN. Community detection further reveals an apparent separation of amounts existing among communities. Heterogeneous effects within communities are also observed. Provinces located in the western and central areas of China act as energy suppliers to promote economic development in the eastern area. Economic cooperation organizations, when taken as a whole, exert more apparent influences on the embodied energy trade system. From a sectoral perspective, the embodied energy use of sectors in each community displays remarkable clustering features. The findings of this study can help formulate fair and reasonable energy-saving policies for suppliers and consumers from the regional and sectoral perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1191-1201
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • China
  • Complex network
  • Embodied energy flows
  • Multi-regional input–output model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Pollution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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