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How the hydrogen generator should/could work + battery/nuclear changes

Discussion in 'General' started by noname42, May 25, 2017.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. noname42 Trainee Engineer

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    95
    In the last update video we have seen the hydrogen generator and I wondered, what would the actual point of this block be?
    It's obviously for creating power out of hydrogen created from ice or directly with ice.

    This quote basically sums up what I think about the ice mode:
    However the 'create power from hydrogen' mode could actually be useful while respecting the laws of physics.
    My suggestions:
    1. Creating hydrogen from ice costs more energy than it is produced from the same amount of hydrogen in the generator (physics)

    2. So you might wonder what the point of hydrogen generators would be after 1.
    In reality we use the process of creating hydrogen and then burning it later as a way of indirectly storing electricity. That's because we don't have batteries with huge capacity and no losses. And that's also why I'm suggesting:

    3. Nerf batteries. Right now a single battery blocks can store a huge amount of electricity and has no active losses. I think this is a problem. For example let's think of a large battleships that get's hit hard in a battle. I would expect that battleship to have some sort of central reactor and if that get's hit the whole ship would have no power anymore (except for some emergency power). But in space engineers we can just spam batteries all over the ship and even if it gets split into pieces everything still has power. To counter the battery spam I suggest the following changes:
    - Batteries have a lot less capacity. If you want to store a lot of energy you will need to build a lot of batteries or use hydrogen storage. However a single battery would still have enough power to run lights/doors etc. so enough for an emergency state
    - Batteries are a lot heavier, discouraging the battery spam on ships but still allowing to build large storages on ground.
    - Batteries have less max output. This is actually a good thing really, as things like large thrusters etc would drain a low capacity battery almost instantly so emergency power would be out quickly if something still tries to pull a lot of power while the main generator is dead.

    4. The question is, can you now just use hydrogen generators in the same way you used batteries by spamming them all over?
    The difference is that hydrogen generators need an hydrogen supply from tanks, which means they need to be connected to the conveyor net. If that gets destroyed the hydrogen generator won't work anymore. Also you can't just place tanks+generators without conveyor everywhere as refilling that would be a pain and tanks are huge.

    5. Another thing to consider is a total nuclear rework. Those tiny reactors we have right now (especially on small ships) are not just unrealistic, but they create a similar problem as batteries because you can just place them all over your ship. Personally I would prefer to have huge nuclear reactors, that can only be built on ground or really big capital ships because they are so huge, basically like a 5x5x5 block or maybe even consisting of multiple blocks... smaller ships would then either run of a differenct power source like solar, or they can 'recharge' their batteries and hydrogen tanks by docking to the main station/ship

    I actually wanted to write a rant because of that ice mode, but then I had many ideas. I guess ideas are better than a rant?
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2017
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  2. Lt_Duckweed Apprentice Engineer

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    417
    Batteries are fairly realistic as is, a good high end battery nowadays has 1.8 MJ/kg energy density, while a large ship battery in game has 2.2 MJ/kg. Considering the rate of advance in battery energy density, 2.2 MJ/kg 75 years from now is low balling it. A massive battery like we have in SE would absolutely be capable of providing megawatt class power.

    Hydrogen stored at 700 bar has an energy density of 142 MJ/kg.

    Doing the math, assuming the hydrogen tanks are pressurized too 700 bar, they could hold as much energy as 233 batteries.
     
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  3. RebelCommando1807 Trainee Engineer

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    18
    Honestly, I can see the entire power network system being overhauled in some manner - Perhaps gradually, but it'd be nice to see.

    The idea would be to have a system of Generators, Storage, and Conduits all working together.
    The Generators would be, naturally, wind, solar, hydrogen, nuclear, and perhaps some other as-of-yet undefined fuel source (Algae oil, perhaps? Maybe even an alkali reaction?)
    Storage would be the batteries that we currently have, but tweaked. They would be low-throughput, long-duration things - So it would be ill-advised to run your ship off of them alone. Then there would be Capacitors - High throughput, low storage. Why the difference? The conduit system.
    Naturally, it'd probably be a simple enough thing to assign power priorities to things, assignable through the terminal. But what bugs me a bit is that no matter how flimsy the connection may be, it always has infinite throughput. Meaning that you could have a dozen or more large large-grid reactors on one side, as many power consumers as you want on the other, and have the only thing connecting them being a line of small-grid armor blocks. Things that can't even withstand small arms fire, handling multiple gigawatts of power?

    The Conduit system would be similar, ideally, to the conveyor system already in place, and could have a few extra blocks (Diodes for one-way transfer, interfaces to multiple blocks, armored/hull variants etc) for utility. Perhaps it could even have a sort of tier system, for medium throughput, high throughput, and Superconductor cables for unlimited throughput. You would still have the natural 'through the blocks' for low-level power transfer - Enough to run the lights, vents, doors, and screens - But for things like thrusters, gravity generators, refineries, etc, they would need more power to fully function than the in-built conduits could provide. Wiring them up with proper conduits from the power sources, however (which can be told to not give any power to the natural grid or even to prioritize it) would give them the power levels that they'd need to work at peak effectiveness, or at a boosted level.

    Then, ideally, there would be a sort of natural progression (ideally) from the very simple wind power to the larger nuclear powerplants - Which, I agree, should be 3x3x3 large blocks at the smallest, then go up to 5x5x5 and up - with side branches for RTGs (Blocks that naturally decay over time as they provide power, uses nuclear pucks as the resource for depletion) and nuclear propulsion - Which, by the way, am I the only one bothered by the fact that the hydrogen thrusters only use hydrogen and not oxygen as well?

    But yes. It would be nice to see hydrogen getting more use - And it would be interesting to see it on both sides of the engine spectrum; Both as low-power, high-efficiency NERVA-style engines and high-power, low-efficiency LH2/LO2 combustion-based propulsion. And while I could argue for adding a bit more optional depth to uranium use (via depletion and reprocessing), I can understand why Keen didn't go that route.
     
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  4. Bumber Senior Engineer

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    1,018
    You also need an oxygen tank when in space.
     
  5. Lt_Duckweed Apprentice Engineer

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    Even if you add 6 extra o2 tanks (that is how many you would need assuming equal pressurization) you are still talking 233 occupied large blocks that have a mass of 4.5k each, vs 39 occupied large blocks that have a mass of a shitload less.
     
  6. J.R. Ewing Trainee Engineer

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    66
    Good calculations. But hydrogen need to be refined with higher energy input, then output energy it can give. Othervise, we will make a perpetum mobile.
     
  7. Lt_Duckweed Apprentice Engineer

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    I'm well aware of that, I have a degree in physics.
     
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  8. Bumber Senior Engineer

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    1,018
    According to my calculations, the mass of the O2 at 700 bar would be 91906.9 kg per tank. That is, if SE were made to count that.
    Edit: Something's not right here. Hydrogen tanks are only 4000 L. That's only 3676.3 kg of oxygen total.
    Not only is the wiki down, the cached version of the oxygen tank page is absurdly wrong.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
  9. tmike Apprentice Engineer

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    107
    One thing I noticed earlier was players on here tend to confuse a hydrogen fuel cell with a battery not really the same type of thing, And well a Liquid acid batter can generate a vary week voltage deference, based on the chemical reaction of the acid and the two metals... the real advantage to the batter is that it can store more of a charge than can be accounted for by the chemical reaction of the acid and the metals. a hydrogen fuel cell does not work quit that way, It harnesses the energy of the chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen combining to create water (and its not hard to do since hydrogen and oxygen would really rather be water then hydrogen and oxygen I then the atoms get lonely) there are limits to the system, since most modern rockets use hydrogen as a perpelent and oxygen as an oxidizer, the use of a fuel cell cuts into your fuel budget. and you end up with a lot of water that you have to come up with something to do with it. in the case of Gemini and Apollo which where powered by hydrogen fuel cells, they used the water produced to help keep the space craft cool. I think the space shuttle did as well, though it also used the bay doors as radiators. none of those craft had solar panels. Though for long term use if your not to far form the sun then you are better off using solar panels and a battery bank.

    about the Nuclear reactors even a soled fueled reactor is that you can build then quit small, We can fit one in a sub, or an airplane. look up the army test reactors (for a small portable reactor that could be used to power a remote base. and the Air force test reactor program for a nuclear powered bomber. which will bring you to a vary interesting way to make even smaller reactors, And that is a liquid fueled reactor, and passably a breeder reactor like a liquid fluoride thorium reactor. Now I can kind of see why you wouldn't want to bring something like thorium into the game as you can find it in rocks soil and dust, Which would make uranium completely redundant, unless you want to make nuclear weapons(for which you would need U-238 or plutonium) U-238 is a fissionable, that is part of the natural decay chain for Uranium, but most of what we find is fertile not fissionable, Fertile means you can mike it into a fissionable form by smacking it with a neutron. but I went a little afield.... you can make even a soled fuel Reactors fairly small. if your talking about a liquid fueled system you can make it even smaller, though mass and weight could be issues, I am all fore more power options, we have quit a few power options now and I can not see having fewer in the 2070s or when ever the game takes place

    And if the new hydrogen power block is some form of combustion engine well what happens when you burn hydrogen and oxagen your waste product is steam, which of pressurized you could run it throw a turbine and get even more power (or even more old school a system of pistons)
     
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  10. Calaban Junior Engineer

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    928
    I think the Hydrogen generator is a misnomer... what is more likely and practical in planetary survival sense, is a Water Engine: Replacing fossil fuels with cracked water in an internal combustion engine. Usable with turbochargers in an atmosphere, or with supplemental bottled oxygen in space. And the waste product of the engines' exhaust? recombined water back into the ice holds.

    I think the point of the inefficient cycle is a slow gathering of "fuel" over time, for rapid, energetic bursts of energy when needed. So, like H2 Thrusters, but for electricity instead of thrust.
     
  11. oleando Apprentice Engineer

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    145
    What i think would be best, is a systems power control, like PULSAR, it would be nice to control how much power goes where with a few sliders.
     
  12. Legas Trainee Engineer

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    51
    Any addition to the energy system will be meaningless when you mine uranium once and have unlimited energy forever.

    Also, hydrogen engine is utterly useless as it's just a glorified battery. We already have batteries in the game, it would add nothing.
    I already think batteries are kinda bad, so nerfing batteries only to create a reason to hydrogen engine to exist seems idiotic.

    What we do need is another source of non-renewable power, because uranium alone seems too simplistic, followed by a total rebalance of uranium availability/performance.

    Ideally we would have easy access to tier 1 fuel (new resource), and harder access to tier 2 fuel (uranium) which is more efficient but harder to get or setup the reactors or whatever.
    With the additional support of renewable sources: solar and wind.

    But, realistically speaking, why would Keen bother adding a new source of fuel, when ice is already in the game and they could just a add a block that burns ice like it was freaking gasoline? Sigh.

    There is no instance currently in the game when you need a rapid energetic burst of energy. Refineries are the only energy sink in the game and they never stop in a regular game.
    For thrust we already have hydrogen thrusters, using walls of ion thrusters to justify a "need" of burst of electricity is null.
     
  13. Calaban Junior Engineer

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    928
    I can think of a few needs off the top of my head:

    - dont want to wait 10 minutes for craft batteries to recharge, pump in the full max input wattage, recharge in 20 seconds

    - dont want to wait 5 minutes for jump drive to recharge, pump in max input wattage, without the tonnage of large reactors.

    - dont even get me started on a battleship with 12 jump drives recharging simultaneously.

    - a small grid craft with several large ion thrusters for accel/decel. those are specifically short term burst demands for high wattage- that kill battery runtime

    There seems for me to be some "burst" power elbow room out there.

    I think we assume no HUGE-ah power systems needs exist mostly because we were never able to pour power to those banking devices at full capacity as yet, without implying massive tonnage of large reactors. Or just had to live with the short lifetime of small batteries on high performance craft.
     
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  14. Saberwulfy Apprentice Engineer

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    292
    • I agree with not break the physics rules.
    • Nerf batteries, but only for hydrogen be more efficient. Batteries need to be a cheap but inefficient way.
    • Tiny reactors existence are ok, it's the future and this is believable, it just need a very big risk if damaged.
    • Uranium manipulation need to be changed. You can have a ultra mega powered of hydra level 98 astronaut suit, but its still dangerous for you and environment.
    • We need a multiblock structure for build big nuclear reactors, it not only justify a modular efficiency over tiny reactor, but it too open a shortcut for modders work with the code and create wonderful machines.
     
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  15. Legas Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    51
    It's not possible to charge batteries or jump drives in seconds. At max input they still take 15 min to charge.
    And, burning hydrogen to charge batteries? Why would you ever do that? Then instead of powering oxygen generators to produce hydrogen, use the power directly to charge batteries.
    You're literally charging one battery (actual battery) with another (hydrogen tank).

    I already dismissed the wall of ion thrusters argument, burning hydrogen to power ion? Pretty dumb when you could burn hydrogen in Hydro thrusters directly.

    A battleship with 12 Jump Drives is outside regular survival gameplay, you're already inside creative mode.
    Even then, such battleship should and will have several large reactors or otherwise end-game energy source, should hydrogen engine really get implemented.

    And I fail to see the "short lifetime" on batteries, even thruster intensive fighter ships will fly for good half an hour on a couple batteries.
    And nothing stops you from placing 10 batteries and have a 20 hour autonomy fighter. (in the same space you'd fit a hydrogen tank, mind you)

    Anyway, I'm not completely blind to the usage of Hydrogen engine, but frankly in a game that's still missing so much, wasting development time to implement what is essentially another battery seems really misguided.
     
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  16. Calaban Junior Engineer

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    928
    Of course my theory could be waaaay off target of what we will actually get...

    but think about its inclusion in scenarios like Escape From Mars... where we would simply dont HAVE blueprints for batteries or reactors. Strange new survival in a strange new world.

    If I recall, they added solar cells simply because we wanted them, no practical benefits over uranium, but here we are; now with solar/battery stations with more sustainability when left alone. I'm fairly certain our designs will shift to unexplored areas once the engines are out, whatever they may be.
     
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  17. The Churrosaur Junior Engineer

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    744
    @noname42 I really like your suggestions- rampant 'decentralization' is something that's pushed my buttons for a long time. It's good engineering and fun design to have to think about a dedicated reactor room- including accessibility and protection. Same for a CiC or any kind of weapons system. Currently the 'optimal' ship design is just to spam shit everywhere instead of any kind of cohesive design- which sucks.
     
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  18. J.R. Ewing Trainee Engineer

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    66
    No, we do not. Iam playing survival and deny myself to mine any of uranium.. Iam going only on renewable energy. Only one needed exception is first time leaving the planet.
     
  19. Legas Trainee Engineer

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    Great, then what do you suggest the new engine should burn though? Ice? H2?
    What you said has nothing to do with the topic.
     
  20. gorgofdoom Trainee Engineer

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    12

    Seconded.
     
  21. odizzido Junior Engineer

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    672

    I agree with pretty much everything you say....however batteries are incredibly good. You can grind them down to the unfinished state just before you grind any power cells, and weld them back up for free power. It doesn't even cost a power cell if you do it perfectly. Even if you do mess up a little it only costs you at most a couple power cells to get an enormous amount of power. It's way more efficient than uranium, but it does take a little work to maintain. Not much, but some.
     
  22. Calaban Junior Engineer

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    928
    oblivious to those that disagree, something else occurred to me on what/why it could be:

    A power supply from lower tier resources. Lets say all you have or can find at the moment is Iron, Nickel and Cobalt... No silicon or silver in sight (yet)
    A Arc furnace source dominated (Large tube piston chambers, nickel coils/taps, Cobalt Bearings) internal combustion engine for power would be a nice add-on.
     
  23. tmike Apprentice Engineer

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    107
    if I where to make once change to the game as is now or will be after the new power blocks come in, I would make it so that batteries do not start with a charge after they are built, that never really made since to me, Acutally anther thing I would do is ethere cut the thrusts of ions, or add some kind of fuel for them or both........
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
  24. odizzido Junior Engineer

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    672
    Batteries do start with charge when they're built IRL apparently. What I would like is if we just called them capacitors, started them with zero charge, and they ground back into the parts you built them with instead of scrap.
     
  25. Bumber Senior Engineer

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    1,018
    I doubt any realistic starting charge would be near the MWh range.

    If this hydrogen generator thing pans out, I hope we can get rid of it.
     
  26. Levits Senior Engineer

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    2,122
    The charge that you are referring to is created via the chemicals used within them (sulfuric acid is rather common). Until the chemicals are added there is no power. What is strange to me however is that the assembler, while creating these "power cells" <which are nothing more than smaller batteries, does not put any more or any less power into them than say a steel plate. If it were chemical-based that's be one thing, but SE has no such chemicals to speak of.

    So... how do those power cells gain that initial burst of power without any outside source, chemical, or input? I'd almost expect that either A: we have to spend more energy in the creation of these power cells (as they gain that initial power charge by being charged via the assembler at the end of their creation), or B: add a resource (or use an existing one such as hydrogen or even one yet to be implemented (still waiting on water)) in the process of the power cells creation.

    It's still rather strange though to think about. You can drain a battery completely, grind down the battery to a point, add one power cell or even less than that, and get the full amount of the initial charge back. <enough to create a perpetual power source as long as you have silicon on hand. That initial charge is more than enough to power assemblers, refineries, and whatever else you need to keep the process going indefinitely. And its cheaper (as far as material goes) than setting up a nuclear reactor.
     
  27. TwoHedWlf Trainee Engineer

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  28. odizzido Junior Engineer

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    672

    I always figured it was magic chemicals, just like the magic carbon we use to make steel plates out of iron and soon to be the magic ice we use to power our facilities. I don't mind magic chemicals too much, but the unlimited free energy from grinding batteries has a really negative gameplay impact.

    Carbon I wouldn't mind seeing added as it could be used for the upcoming generator, making steel, used in the oxygen farm and probably other things. Then you could make uranium power more rare and/or difficult to use so other power sources become worth while.
     
  29. Levits Senior Engineer

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    2,122
    Out of curiosity, as I'm unfamiliar with it (or reading this wrongly... and it's a bit late), how does the nickel and cobalt manage to provide that much power when they do not receive anywhere near that amount of energy input during their creation? As per the game, there is no chemical process (<*), there is only metal and metal. How does the nickel and cobalt reach that higher energy state? <tried to look up a bit of that myself but I'm not really finding nothing.

    * with regards to that chemical process, it's really the difference between night and day with regards to the batteries and how (as in a justifiable reason why) they could provide such a large initial charge. Metal on metal after being force-fed energy is one thing, but if what I'm reading (kinda iffy on it) your saying that the two metals (nickel and cobalt) come "pre-charged" (I guess during their refinement) without any additional input. I could even go so far as to believe that the metals are at that higher energy state without chemicals if and only if there was power being fed into them either during or after their refinement or assembly.

    Eh, not that this much matters and I'm getting off topic a bit, but I'm just looking for a reasonable explanation for the "magic" battery. It's Obvious that the perpetual energy device, that is our current battery, needs some work.
     
  30. tmike Apprentice Engineer

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    how a battory works is a chimical reaction of two dissimaler metals, We usesaly use lead and copper, or lead and zinc. But theres no real reasion you cant use deffrent metals and acid, any acid will work and the comical reaction with result in a small voltage deffrince, so the starting carge could be a result of cimical reaction in the manufactuiiring. Batterys are really easy to make there is evadince that the have been made for 1000s of years, we can only spuclate what they have been doing with them.
     
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