Railcraft Steam Turbines

Discussion in 'General FTB chat' started by TheLoneWolfling, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. TheLoneWolfling

    TheLoneWolfling Active Member

    I just did a comparison of odd ways to generate IC2 energy, and came upon something interesting.

    One turbine costs 248 steel.
    The amount of boiler required for one steam turbine is 18 m^3 of HP tank, or 43 steel.
    One turbine rotor produces 100eu/t for 41 hrs, with a cost of 99 steel.
    (Can someone check these numbers please?)

    That means that up-front, a steam turbine costs 390 steel for 100eu/t, or 0.26 eu/t/iron.

    A wind generator in a Mystcraft age with consistent weather can produce 2.49eu/t avg without risk of breakage, and costs 12 iron, or 0.21 eu/t/iron.

    The turnover point is at the first turbine replacement at 41 hours. Although a steam turbine produces more eu/t per iron upfront, a steam turbine continues to burn iron whereas the wind generators just sit there producing energy. Also, a turbine uses fuel, whereas wind generators are fire-and-forget.

    As such, why bother to use a steam turbine? If you're going for quick energy, use a geothermal generator or ten. If you're looking for the long haul, use wind generators. Are there any good uses for Railcraft Steam Turbines currently?
  2. noah_wolfe

    noah_wolfe Well-Known Member

    Yes. When you have a 36HP boiler and aren't using all the steam. You have two options: run all 18 commercial engines and fill an endless chain of energy cells, or convert the excess. You are comparing a power conversion system with a native power source. It's like going in the other direction: why would you use an Electrical Engine as a primary source of BC power? You wouldn't - it's application is for situations where you have an abundance of EU and want to power a couple of BC blocks.
  3. whythisname

    whythisname Active Member

    Wind generators are pretty much the best in the game if you want a "fire-and-forget" system. They even beat Solar Panels and Water Mills, though those 2 are your next best "fire-and-forget" generators (in that order btw). I'm not all that experienced with Nuclear power, but from what I understand they will always require maintenance and a steady supply of radio active materials.

    I'm not counting Advanced Solar Panels here as they're about as imba as it can get when it comes to power generation, even with the expensive GregTech base panel and the most expensive upgrade path they still out scale every single power source in the game (not to mention what happens in an Eternal Day Mystcraft age...). Some materials might be hard to get, but most aren't that rare and they are usually used for power generation anyway (instead of sticking it in a nuclear reactor which uses it up you put it on a solar panel where it'll last forever...).

    The only other generator that might be pretty fire-and-forget is the Petroleum Generator that's in the Mindcrack pack. You need a lot of infrastructure for it (basically a whole Fuel/Biofuel factory) and I think it's a relatively weak generator, but it'll run without maintenance (depending on how you setup your fuel plant) and you might be able to hook up several to 1 plant. Alternatively I also think there is a generator included with Forestry that runs of off Biomass, which can fill a similar role to the Petroleum Generator.

    Note: I'm saying these things based on memory, so I might be mistaken on some things :p xD
  4. Omicron

    Omicron Over-Achiever Trusted User

    Gladly. You missed some Railcraft updates/recipe changes. ;)

    One turbine costs 248 168 steel (16 blocks plus 16 plates, though the recipe dictates you make 18 plates).
    The amount of boiler required for one steam turbine is 18 16 m³ of HP tank, or 43 44 steel (though less if you use leftover plates from making the turbine).
    One turbine rotor produces 100eu/t for 41 ca. 60 hrs, with a cost of 99 steel.

    So, for starters the cost of the turbine itself already came down by a third.

    Now, how much EU is that 99 steel rotor worth? 60 * 60 * 60 * 20 * 100 = 432,000,000. Yes, 432 million EU from one rotor. For comparison, uranium cells - a resource far more rare than iron - are worth 1 million each. Obviously more if you use full size reactors with high-efficiency cell setups, but if you think a mere steam turbine is expensive, I recommend you don't look into nuclear reactors because it might not be good for your health. ;)

    Also note that if you're into converting MJ to EU, the conversion factor when using the turbine is actually 1.5:1. That's 50% better than what a cobblegen + magma crucible + geothermal setup would give you. Said setup is maintenance free; if you want that extra 50%, having to replace a rotor once per month (if you play 2 hours a day, every day) is certainly not too much to ask. Oh, and by the way, the turbine is five times as fast as the magma crucible is on full power. Needing five crucibles (35 iron, 10 gold, 10 copper) plus five geothermals (50 iron and 25 tin) kind of offsets the cost of the turbine a bit, don't you think? And that's not counting the need to produce a constant 100 MJ/t which will cost you engines (for example 13 industrial steam engines, costing 156 steel plus 13 iron by themselves, plus the need of a boiler significantly larger than that the turbine requires) and fuel to run it all.
    Matthew83 likes this.
  5. Peppe

    Peppe Well-Known Member

    That is interesting math. On nuclear reactors the max efficiency per uranium is 7. So 1 mil at best becomes 7 mill, but to maintain efficiency above 5 costs a lot of material in the process to make a quad cells and reflectors. You need gregtech's reflector to get above 6 efficiency for multiple cycles. Without gregtech realistically you can run a reactor 4-5 net efficiency cycle to cycle. The fuel isn't too bad as you can stretch one uranium ore into 8 depleted cells that you recharge in a breeder reactor to make 8 full uranium cells. One uranium cell in a breeder can charge 80+ cells fully optimized. Each uranium cell has a 25% chance of returning a depleted cell when it is consumed, so while the fuel is rare used wisely you will have plenty.

    To compare turbine to a renewable source you can add in the UU matter costs to make the turbine renewable, which i think is about 125 UU matter to make the turbine's steal (100 steal = 50 iron ore, (5 UU = 2 ore) 50 iron ore = 125UU). 1 UU = 1m EU or 1/6th that with scrap. So each 432 million cycle you have to commit 20-125 million of it to UU matter generation. Looks like it is still pretty efficient if your pack has the normal mass fabricator. If the pack uses the greg tech one they are almost equal efficiency (not sure your math on geothermals, but seems like around 290m EU in 60 hours?).

    Unfortunately just about any EU system is blown away by advanced/compact solar panels. All the fun/interesting power factories can be replaced by a single block.
  6. With nuclear breeder reactors, you can use 1 refined uranium surrounded by 8 cells to create 8 depleted uranium cells, and those you can turn into reinriched, to normal etc etc.
    So once your started, you can setup a system that only requires 1 uranium per 8 cells (and thats not counting the cells you get from your power generation leftovers!)
  7. Bibble

    Bibble Well-Known Member

    Ok, I've only played with the nukes briefly since their revamp (which makes it much easier to use, imo). I could, relatively easily, use it as a primary power gen method, with an ic2 heavy base. You can, relatively easily (especially with logistics pipes) set up a generating reactor and a breeder which will net you about 22 re-enriched cells per cycle (1 cell input). The depleted cells can either be new (1 uranium to 8 depleted), or remnants of a previous cycle, the efficiency is a little difficult to calculate, but the upshot is that, with a quarry or two running full time, you're not going to run out of power anytime soon.

    This was done when my base was near bedrock, so most renewable gen methods were out, and steam wasn't in yet.

    With RC steam, my setup tends to start with thermal expansion, so my initial gen is BC power via steam. What this means is that I get so far down the line and think that I probably ought to start looking at IC2. Now, I could use turbines at this point, or I could pump my excess saplings through to biofuel and use biogenerators.

    I wouldn't advise these methods in a progression-system (coal gen, geo, etc), but, when you have an excess of one thing, and a need for another, you might as well convert.
  8. Dragonchampion

    Dragonchampion Active Member

    Exactly the reason on my server that I nerfed solar panels to HALF of thier previous levels. It annoyed me to no end that people would just build solar complexes and have eveything they need. Minecraft is about creativity... create a freaking steam plant! Nuclear reactor! SOMEthing!

    Also... balancing the Steam Boiler with Nuclear Reactors, how would I go about doing this? Would I have to double or triple reactor efficiency in the config? How much would I have to increase reactor efficiency?
  9. Hydra

    Hydra Popular Member

    You're pointing out the 'biggest' issue with IC2 currently; there is no progression in power usage / supply. Geothermals are cheap as heck and, with Lava being so easy to get, the 'best' solution for both early and end-game. It's really noticeable that on servers most players go for the path of the least resistance: they all build solars (easier to setup than windmills) and if that's not an option they go for geothermals. No one bothers with Nuclear systems because for their complexity they simply don't provide any benefits. Compact/Advanced solars makes this even worse because once you have a basic setup + a mass fab you basically have a self-replicating system that grows exponentially.

    For me IC2 adds nothing aside from some nice armor. I have a massfab running off a nuclear reactor just to make quantum armor. Aside from that it really don't integrate very well with the rest of the mods in the pack, unlike BC, Forestry and Redpower which do work well together.
    --- Double Post Merged, Feb 8, 2013 ---
    You will only cause the problem that you're making matter fabrication too cheap then. If you want people to buy reactors you have the make it impossible / unfeasable to use 'free' energy like Nether lava or Solars. Since you actually BUFFED Nether lava you've created a problem more than you're fixing it.
    RedBoss likes this.
  10. Omicron

    Omicron Over-Achiever Trusted User

    Honestly, GregTech already buffs nether lava. What you do with the geothermal generator in the config doesn't matter so much since once you upgrade them to the GregTech version, you're getting 30k instead of 20k per lava bucket, and at a higher EU/t as well. I really hope the newer versions have this configurable, but at least the version in Mindcrack v6 doesn't give you that option.

    I'm currently running the same settings as Dragonchampion - solars nerfed to half output. Wind as well, actually, and if the config would let me I'd do the same for active-mode water mills. I have geothermals set to 75%, but as mentioned, GregTech kind of makes that irrelevant at the moment.

    What I am definitely going to do in my next world is up the power output of normal generators and nuclear reactors. 20%-25% seems a good value to start with. But I'll have to examine the environment first; GregTech updates like every two days, and everytime I start a new world the mod has changed so much that I have to learn it all over again (which, by the way, I don't mind at all).
  11. RedBoss

    RedBoss Never Leaves

    Can't users defeat your geothermal nerf by using gregtech Thermal Generators?

    TBH Hydra made a hugely valuable statement that IC2 only adds cool armor. I agree. playing the mindcrack pack merely forced me to learn TE, BC and the other mods. My resource and power output aren't tier 3 but i'm sustainable and using resources that normal ic2 doesn't provide. TE's pulverizer eliminates the whiney complain about macerators needing diamonds.

    Personally I'm playing with steam now. It seems more fun to use, especially with TE's energy cells and tesseracts. I don't know all the numbers but at some point you're going to have to invest a large amount of resources for large scale energy production. At that point though i'd think you'd have run 2-3 quarries and iron to steel production wouldn't be that much of an issue.
  12. Dreossk

    Dreossk Active Member

    So what is your setup to not lose energy to TE machines even if they are not running while at the same time not requirering human intervention?
  13. Omicron

    Omicron Over-Achiever Trusted User

    Losing energy to TE machines?
  14. Dreossk

    Dreossk Active Member

    When I started Mindcrack I tried using Thermal Expansion since it looked so good but I found out that they were always using electricity even if they were not working and if they were full, the MJ would all gather in the pipe behind and grow bigger and bigger until it blows up so I said screw that, back to IC2's machine that don't draw power when they don't need to.
  15. Hydra

    Hydra Popular Member

    You're wrong. TE machines don't draw power unless they need to, the problem is with the conductive pipes you used. If you use TE energy conduits you won't have those problems. Conduits are vastly superior to conductive pipes (and IC2 cables IMHO).
    RedBoss likes this.
  16. Dreossk

    Dreossk Active Member

    I probably didn't consider that since it requires already having power and advanced TE machines to make which is not something you can do when you start and the wiki points out many issue with these.
  17. RedBoss

    RedBoss Never Leaves

    but you can turn off your engines when you're done with them. that always stops energy build up
  18. Hydra

    Hydra Popular Member

    Once you learn about conduits you'll try to make them as soon as possible. At least I did, now that pipes have this ridiculous blowing up mechanic.
  19. Dreossk

    Dreossk Active Member

    The problem is that engines are slow to build momentum and turning them on/off loses efficiency and time and anyway, all of this is not required in IC2, just get in the room, put ore in machine, get result, leave. I find it hard to go to another less efficient system.
    arkangyl likes this.
  20. Tybalt

    Tybalt New Member

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