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Hydrogen fuel cell OR hydrogen ICE and SE's overall energy system...do they make sense?

Discussion in 'General' started by kcjunkbox, May 11, 2017.

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

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    If you watch the teaser a few times and look closely, you can clearly see that the new block is a hydrogen fuel cell or hydrogen internal combustion engine (I.C.E.) that looks like a V-4 piston engine with cams visible through glass engine cover on top and our currently very large hydrogen tank in the back conveyored to the engine. Wait V-4? Who makes a V-4 engine? and by the way fuel cells look nothing like piston engines but hydrogen ICEs do.

    The more I think about that teaser, the less sense it makes. My first thought was that this was a hydrogen fuel cell but after a little research and looking at the model of the block it seems like it would be a hydrogen ICE, but that makes little sense as they are far less efficient than hydrogen fuel cells. So either they didn't do their research or a game designer told a graphics guy to make a fuel cell and not knowing any better he made a V-4 hydrogen ICE.

    However, no matter which is the case above, it still does not make any sense as in the real world both hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen ICEs do not compare to the simplicity, efficiency and performance of battery electric vehicles (BEV). In either case with the hydrogen fuel cell or the hydrogen ICE you have the added construction, volume, mass and extra steps mining ice, oxygen generator, hydrogen tank, hydrogen "engine" when you could just have a battery or fit a shit ton of batteries into the volume of all that infastructure. A small ship oxygen generator is the same size as a small ship battery, the hydrogen "engine" is the same size as a battery and the hydrogen tank is the size of almost 7 batteries, that is 9 battries you could fit into the volume of the hydrogen "engine", oxygen generator and hydrogen tank. Not to mention you would either have to hand feed ice into the conveyor system or install a connector, which is also the size of a battery. That's 10 batteries. So will the hydrogen tank store 10 battries worth of energy? 10 batteries would last practically forever while running the wheels of a car so why would you ever even need that much store power.

    How long does it take to charge a battery (or 10 batteries) at the maximum rate vs how long it takes to fill a small ship hydrogen tank?

    How much electricity does it take to fill that tank with hydrogen and how much ice is needed as well? And how does that compare to charging batteries? Which one is more efficient or is there an exploit in there?

    A battery and a solar panel is looking a lot simplier.

    But this begs the question. How will SE's overall energy system function? There are currently discrepencies between the per cell power storage of small ship and large ship batteries. How do the 4 different sizes of nuclear reactors compare to each other? How will the new wind generators compare to solar? Will they produce constant power day and night with no wind effects? In the real world, the biggest problem with wind power is how unpredictable and inconsistent its power production is and that it always requries a constant power source to "smooth" out the power grid, like coal, natural gas or nuclear, etc. Will wind power in SE have these disadvantages too? Currently Se batteries are only 80% efficient, will there be inefficiencies in the hydrogen production, storage and usage as well (as there should be)?

    With solar panels only working during the day and if you couldn't afford or had the materiels to build a battery, I guess you could produce hydrogen during the day and then use the hydrogen "engine" to produce electricity at night but batteries are pretty easy to come buy unless a rebalance of materials happens. But then if the wind generator produces consistent power day and night, why even use solar panels and batteries or the new hydrogen "engine."

    I'm all for more choices but you really have to think about the system as a whole and I hope they are doing that.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 4
  2. halipatsui Senior Engineer

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    I think it is combustion engine with either biomass fuel or coal.
    There is pink orb "organic" that can be spawned in creative.
    I think it could be something to do with biofuel.

    Maybe they are making trees harvestable?

    Lumberjack mechs <3


    The balance situation will be formed later.
    They might still make uranium a lot harder to find or something similar.
    --- Automerge ---
    Combustion engine would also be more logical when considering volume needed for hydrogen storage.

    Other thing they could do would be limiting wheel performance according to the fuel type used.

    For example combustion or hydrogen or whatever giving better acceleration.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Akimitsu18 Apprentice Engineer

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    2 thoughts: First, I think there's a chance that the performance of all power-related blocks is going to change. From what little I understand about physics, the numbers aren't realistic now as it is, especially when it comes to hydrogen.

    Second: I believe this is Keen attempting to introduce/expand upon tiered content in SE. Arc Furnaces, Wind Mills, Basic Assemblers and these Hydrogen Engines could represent early tier technologies that players are expected to build initially before having access to reactors, solar panels and perhaps even batteries. What if it turns out that the basic assembler can't build power cells? This would basically require that you set up a production line before having access to solar panels and batteries.
     
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  4. Malware Master Engineer

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    It's confirmed by Aragath himself on Discord to be a hydrogen based power generator able to use either ice or hydrogen, with the latter being the most efficient fuel.

    It has nothing to do with wheels at all, other than being able to power them the same way any other power provider can.
     
    • Informative Informative x 4
  5. kcjunkbox Senior Engineer

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    1,130
    This is not directed at you Malware but the information you are passing along.

    So it needs electricity to melt the ice to water then use eletricity to perform electrolysis to create hydrogen and then uses the hydrogen to create electricity...? Or does it just melt ice and perform electrolysis with no energy consumption? This kinda makes no sense at all...
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
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  6. Akimitsu18 Apprentice Engineer

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    Not being knowledgeable in the science related to these things in real life, is anything else in SE realistic enough that this would stick out?
     
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  7. halipatsui Senior Engineer

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    Thinking about other things in SE its acceptable :D
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. PLPM Junior Engineer

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    Batteries themselves...

    Placing ice as a fuel and generating power out of it, without any actual energetic investment, is akin to placing a lightbulb in your house and it generating the electricity required to power your house out of the heat it generates while turned on.

    AKA

    A "troll drive" but applyied to power generation.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  9. halipatsui Senior Engineer

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    I wonder how they are going to balance it so that it comes desirable over reactors.
    Ptobably it will just be cheaper and lighter.
     
  10. Lt_Duckweed Apprentice Engineer

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    I see it more as a high power output high density battery. Use solar power or wind power to crack water during the day, run off of the generator at night.

    It's also good for quick fueling of rovers, the tank can be filled up at a station in less than a minute, and away you go.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. Cronos988 Junior Engineer

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    545
    That seems to be the likely intention. I would imagine you start out with a basic assembler that can use ore directly (if the new engine can, why not the assembler) that can make wind turbines, hydrogen engines and oxygen/hydrogen generators (so you have oxygen for non-earthlike). That would allow you to run vehicles either directly via ice in the hydrogen machine, or take the time to turn the ice into hydrogen at your base (powered by wind turbine) to have more efficient power. You'd then progress to the current forms of energy generation once you have the standard refinery and assembler.

    I don't think it's actually a troll drive per se. It is technically possible to get out more useable energy than you put in by using some kind of catalyst (that ultimately supplies the energy in some form, just not one that you could otherwise utilize). That or you utilize atomic energies via fission or fusion, but that is definetly not what is happening here.
     
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    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  12. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

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    The amount of energy needed for wheeled vehicles is a small fraction of energy for thruster propulsion. IMHO the balance will be mass vs energy output. Using this power source on a flying vehicle may not make all that much sense as far as mass. It might be useful for charging batteries in a hydrogen powered ship or a starter base sans uranium. Solar sourced power takes a lot of solar panels to amass enough potential energy to run a refinery for an hour.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Plongo Trainee Engineer

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    42
    Well could just be like a generator irl, need to create a spark to get the thing going, will then power itself, what an alternator does in a generator, petrol engine, gas engine etc. All it needs is an ignition. Technically it might have a small battery inside it all ready to go as well, just waiting on a button pushed, or key turned. I'd say you'd have to have just hydrogen in it. Ice would just be cheesy hey. But we will see! New blocks are always welcome with me, more things to build with! I'm super excited for this, but also that wheel fix they have in the works!!
     
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  14. kcjunkbox Senior Engineer

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    1,130
    If it just creates power from ice, I don't think I will play SE anymore because that is impossible and just plain stupid for a game that attempts to be physics based. Why not just make oxygen generators not require any power to split ice? That is essentially what creating power from ice is; a oxygen generator that splits ice and then recombines it for a net gain in power. Physics Heresy!!!
     
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  15. halipatsui Senior Engineer

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    Mr torque would like to talk with you about horizontal metal rod hovering horizontally with thruster attached to the end of the rod.
    He would like to talk with you along with his wife. The trolldrive :,D
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. PLPM Junior Engineer

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    Indeed, fusion would be understandable, if it´s just separating Hydrogen from water and then burning it... that´s fairly inneficient, let alone self-sustainable.
     
  17. Me 10 Jin Apprentice Engineer

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    The 2nd law of thermodynamics demands satisfaction!

    Or just say that all "ice" in SE is actually frozen booze... yeah, that checks out.
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
  18. FoolishOwl Junior Engineer

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    In Traveller, damn near everything ran on fusion power. Some ships, especially military or exploration vessels, had equipment to "skim" hydrogen from gas giants, and hydrogen was available in bulk at starports; there were also references to automated gas mining and the like.

    So, imagine that Space Engineers had gas "giants", and you could build hydrogen skimming equiptment for ships. You could build dedicated gas miners, etc., and generally, tweak the numbers so that once you'd built the infrastructure to mine gas giants for hydrogen, you'd get more energy out than you put in.

    It still seems odd in the context of simply burning hydrogen, rather than fusing it, but, at least I think you can imagine a scenario in which the energy costs of acquiring hydrogen are considerably lower than the costs of breaking water molecules.
     
  19. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

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    If the ice was frozen booze then I'd see absolutely no reason to venture off of the planet... or out of the cryo-pod if the hydration unit will accept massive quantities of "ice."
     
  20. AdInfinitum Trainee Engineer

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    Ignoring fusion, a catalyst still isn't going to be able to change the starting and ending energies of a reaction. Since burning hydrogen is the reverse reaction of splitting water, the absolute best you could do is breaking even. If it's fusion then the amount of energy required to split water would probably be inconsequential. Not sure on how much deuterium and tritium you'll get from splitting regular water though, but that would be a better handwave.

    I'd say that they should just remove the ability to use ice as a power source, unless they're intending this to be an early game power source. Hydrogen would be an excellent storage medium for solar and wind energy, and a replacement for reactors on ships that already use hydrogen thrusters. No more having power drained from batteries and immediately charged from a reactor for a 20% loss.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  21. halipatsui Senior Engineer

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    Uding ice for power probably doesnt matter if the generator is very weak.
    If wheel power consumption keeps as it is reactor power can be cut pretty much to one tenth for a small rover.
     
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  22. Akimitsu18 Apprentice Engineer

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    So... what about all those people who modify their cars to burn hydrogen and create their own (I think they're called) electrolysis kits?
     
  23. SilentShadow Apprentice Engineer

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    They are deluding themselves.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  24. Akimitsu18 Apprentice Engineer

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    In what manner? Like their cars don't run and they're hallucinating?
     
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  25. AdInfinitum Trainee Engineer

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    It's still a net loss of energy, but unlike wind and solar energy hydrogen is available on demand. It's also simpler to refit a combustion engine to burn hydrogen than it is to tear everything out and replace it with batteries. If someone has surplus solar energy on their property, and doesn't drive long distances, it at least saves them gas money
     
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  26. Harrekin Master Engineer

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    They use solar in real life to perform electrolysis on water to produce hydrogen...

    I never understood the objection to it in SE.
     
  27. halipatsui Senior Engineer

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    Hydrogen thrusters and oxygen for ships.
     
  28. Azirahael Apprentice Engineer

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    It worked when there was nuclear power, and solar power.

    There was enough fudge-factor to hide the not-fun maths when it came to cracking ice for hydrogen.

    But, if you use hydrogen to power ice processors, to provide hydrogen to burn to generate power... Well, there's nowhere to hide the maths.
    The only use of this system, is if it provides something that batteries cannot. Like, a greater total energy density than 10 batteries. Or a higher total output.
    Or cheaper construction, like, it only needs iron.

    Then you use solar power to make hydrogen, to power your vehicle.
    Instead of batteries.

    Also, they need some smaller tanks.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  29. odizzido Junior Engineer

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    Yeah I think hiding has helped a lot. I mean I've often wondered how much power my hydrogen thrusters are actually using but I've never bothered to figure it out. Also with a hydrogen thruster I think it's fair to assume that you're going to be losing all of your water but when you run it through a generator you could save it which is another glaring issue.


    You know I would like to make a mod called SE: The Harsh Reality when the game is done. One day.
     
  30. SilentShadow Apprentice Engineer

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    Most kits promise better mpg (of gasoline) by adding hydrogen which a typical ICE can burn. In reality their mpg is the same or less afterwards. 2 issues:
    1) IRL you need many liters (or gallons) per minute of hydrogen to make a difference.
    2) Creating H2 from water IRL takes more energy than what an engine gets from burning it.
    Someone better than me can point you to the numbers on these issues.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
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