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Electric and thermal power conversion analysis


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Mostly for my own benefit, here is a list of the main buildings that convert, transport, or create heat. I am basing this on the wiki, which might very well be outdated, so please correct anything you see here that is wrong. I will use spoilers to organize this post.

Existing energy conversion types in the game:

Spoiler

Power generators:

  • Manual generator : 400 W of electricity, 1 kDTU/s of heat (byproduct), requires dupe -> 2.5 DTU per 1 J produced [byproduct], requires dupe
  • Coal : 600 W of electricity, 9 kDTU/s of heat (byproduct) -> 15 DTU per 1 J produced [byproduct]
  • Hydrogen : 800 W of electricity, 4 kDTU of heat (byproduct) -> 5 DTU per 1 J produced [byproduct]
  • Natural Gas : 800 W of electricity, 10 kDTU/s of heat (byproduct) -> 12.5 DTU per 1 J produced [byproduct]
  • Petroleum : 2 kW of electricity, 20 kDTU/s of heat (byproduct) -> 10 DTU per 1 J produced [byproduct]

Thermal production:

  • Space heater : 18 kDTU/s per 120 W -> 150 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Liquid tepidizer : 4064 kDTU/s per 960 W -> 4230 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Tiny battery : 1.25 kDTU/s, 1 kJ/cycle runoff -> 750 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Large battery : 1.25 kDTU/s, 2 kJ/cycle runoff -> 375 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Smart battery : 500 DTU/s, 400 J/cycle runoff -> 750 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Small / Large Power transformer: 1 kDTU/s, no energy runoff - > (technically) Free thermal energy 
  • Lamp : 500 DTU/s, 8 W -> 62.5 DTU per 1 J consumed (also produces light)
  • Ceiling light : 500 DTU/s, 10 W -> 50 DTU per 1 J consumed (also produces light)

Notes:

  1. Unlike all other buildings whose maximum working temperature depends on their material, the space heater and liquid tepidizer have hardcoded maximum temperatures. Space heater cannot go above 70 C. Liquid tepidizer cannot go above 85 C.
  2. The battery runoff does not depend on energy stored in the battery. If you want to minimize runoff or heat produced, smart batteries are best (>2%/cycle runoff), then large batteries (>5%/cycle runoff), then tiny batteries (>10%/cycle runoff).
  3. Power transformers can produce enough heat to get about 1 W out of a steam turbine. Due to the metal and space costs of each transformer, you are unlikely to exploit them for power.

 

Heat displacement:

  • Thermo regulator (with Hydrogen) : 33.6 kDTU/s displaced per 240 W -> 140 DTU displaced per 1 J consumed
  • Thermo aquatuner (with water) : 585 kDTU/s displaced per 1200 W -> 487 DTU displaced per 1 J consumed
  • Thermo aquatuner (with super coolant) : 1181.6 kDTU/s displaced per 1200 W -> 984 DTU displaced per 1 J consumed

 

Industry and refinement (ignore recipe ingredients):

  • Compost pile : 1.123 kDTU/s, no electricity cost -> (technically) Free thermal energy
  • Fertilizer synthesizer : 3 kDTU/s per 120 W -> 25 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Algae distiller : 1.5 kDTU/s per 120 W -> 12.5 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Oil refinery : 10 kDTU/s per 480 W -> 20.8 DTU per 1 J consumed 
  • Polymer press : 32.5 kDTU/s per 240 W -> 135 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Metal refinery (steel) : 2340 kDTU/s per 1200 W -> 1950 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Molecular forge : 16 kDTU/s per 1600 W -> 10 DTU per 1 J consumed

Notes:

  1. Due to the special mechanism through which the metal refinery outputs its heat, the maximum temperature that it can reach depends on its cooling fluid, rather than its construction material. Using petroleum allows reaching temperatures up to 500 C, when steel buildings can only reach 275 C.
  2. Kiln produces 20 kDTU/s, but "consumes" 25 kg of coal per recipe. That coal in a coal generator would produce 15 kJ and 225 kDTU instead.
  3. Compost pile can produce enough heat to get 1 W out of a steam turbine. Due to the space  and dupe / compostables requirements, you are unlikely to exploit them for power.
  4. The temperature of the output of some of these buildings, compared with the desired temperature of the output, can change the effective heat production of these buildings.

 

Other:

  • Oxygen diffuser : 1.5 kDTU/s per 120 W -> 12.5 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Carbon skimmer : 1 kDTU/s per 120 W -> 8.3 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Microbe musher : 2.5 kDTU/s per 240 W -> 10.4 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Auto-sweeper/loader/miner : 2 kDTU/s per 120 W -> 16.7 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Jukebot : 1 kDTU/s per 960 W -> 1.0 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Arcade cabinet : 4 kDTU/s per 1200 W : 3.33 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Espresso machine : 1 kDTU/s per 480 W -> 2.1 DTU per 1 J consumed

 

Heat-free buildings (?):

  • Liquid pump
  • Gas pump

 

Heat consumption:

  • (new) steam turbine (200 C steam) (based on this): 850 W produced, consuming 875 kDTU/s, dissipating 64.3 kDTU/s -> 950 DTU consumed, 75.6 DTU displaced, for 1 J produced

(Wheezewort in hydrogen consumes 12 kDTU/s, AETN consumes 80 kDTU/s and 10g/s hydrogen)

 

Missing info from the wiki (will update when possible): electric grill, transport tube access, smart storage bin, refrigerator, all pumps, filters, rock granulator, research station(s), massage table

Some quick conclusions:

  • Strangely, the Aquatuner is less efficient at moving heat than the Tepidizer is at creating it.
  • Early game, non-automated generators will be the main heat producers in your base. Once they are automated, their heat production will be comparable to the heat produced across the rest of your base, aside from battery banks and some industrial buildings (mainly metal refineries).
  • Lamps and ceiling lights produce a lot of heat for their wattage, compared to most other appliances.
  • The best source of heat (for the power cost) in the game is the liquid tepidizer. The second best is the metal refinery making steel (ignoring ingredient costs).
  • Aquatuner's "poor" efficiency and tepidizer's maximum working temperature disallow a simple power-positive turbine setup. In fact, even just *moving* heat to the turbine with an aqua tuner is power negative, or maybe *barely* power positive if using super coolant. It should still be possible to run a power positive setup with a metal refinery producing steel, though it will be harder.

 

                                                                                                                                                                              

 

Moving into the realm of my own personal opinion, here are some balance thoughts based on this analysis:
 

Spoiler

 

With the (re-)introduction of the steam turbine, the electricity-to-heat conversion of different machines should be tuned to avoid free energy exploits. The main pitfall to avoid is that anything that can reach temperatures above 125 C should not be able to produce heat at a "better" rate than the conversion from steam turbines. The things that come closer to breaking that are:

  • Metal refinery producing steel. For each Joule, it can produce twice the amount of heat that the turbine requires to produce 1 J, and it can reach arbitrarily high temperatures as far as the turbine is concerned. On the other hand, it requires ingredients to keep running. A possible "fix" would be to slow down the recipes from the refinery based on the associated total DTU, so that their efficiency is in line with other buildings.
  • The Liquid tepidizer efficiency is far above every other building, but its maximum temperature is capped at 85 C, independent of the building material. If its maximum temperature were to work like that of other buildings, then its efficiency would have to be toned down to that of other similar buildings.
  • Power transformers and Compost piles technically produce free heat, but at such a low rate for their associated costs, it isn't worth it to exploit them. Still, some energy runoff could be added to the transformer, if necessary.

A special point has to be made about Aquatuners, since they move heat, instead of producing it, so the arguments are different. In fact, aside from real life considerations about the limits of what heat pumps can do, aquatuners' efficiency could be arbitrarily high without destroying the game balance, so much as shifting it. By which I mean, if the aquatuner's efficiency were much higher, you would stop worrying about its power cost, and you would start worrying about where to find all the heat you need to move, before everything freezes over.

The only hard constraint on the aquatuner is that the power cost of creating heat and then moving it has to be higher than the power you get back from the turbine. In practice, this is only a constraint due to the tepidizer's extremely high efficiency. If that building is toned down, then the aquatuner's efficiency can increase without fundamentally breaking anything. A soft constraint is that, for the same power expense, an aquatuner should be able to dissipate more heat than the tepidizer can. What isn't a constraint at all, but only depends on the preferred balance by the devs, is whether an aquatuner feeding a turbine should be power positive or not.

Related to this issue, but not game breaking: both the space heater and the thermo regulator have extremely low efficiencies. They really could use a buff. Either decrease the power requirement, increase the heat created / displaced, or both.

 

                                                                                                                                                                              

 

I would also like to add, for anyone curious, some extra thoughts on what a more "physics-like" balance of the game would look like. I make no claims that any of these changes would make the game better, I am just doing it for SCIENCE!

Spoiler

For the sake of putting numbers, I will assume that 1 W corresponds to 1 kDTU/s, to have a nice round number that isn't too far from where the balance currently is.

Turbine efficiency:

In real life, turbine efficiencies are at around 50%, and usually even lower. And that efficiency decreases with the input temperature of the steam. In fact, a turbine running between 200 C and 95 C would be, at the very best, ~20% efficient. The fact that ONI's turbine transforms ~92% of the input heat into electricity is amazing. Similarly, all power generators are effectively a burner powering a turbine, so the amount of heat they output should be much, much higher. If we assume an astonishingly high turbine efficiency of ~67%, then we would have something like this:

  • Coal : 600 W of electricity, 300 kDTU/s of heat (byproduct) -> 500 DTU per 1 J produced [byproduct]
  • Petroleum : 2 kW of electricity, 1000 kDTU/s of heat (byproduct) -> 500 DTU per 1 J produced [byproduct]
  • Steam turbine (230 C steam): 850 W produced, consuming 1275 kDTU/s, dissipating 425 kDTU/s -> 1000 DTU consumed, 500 DTU displaced, for 1 J produced

Also, since the turbine is (implicitly) passively condensing the output steam, it wouldn't be able to work above 95 C. Similar limits would apply to all power generators. Good luck cooling all that :) 

 

Heaters:

This is a simple one, we just use the base conversion, and drop the maximum temperature :

  • Space heater : 30 kDTU/s per 30 W -> 1000 DTU per 1 J consumed
  • Liquid tepidizer : 960 kDTU/s per 960 W -> 1000 DTU per 1 J consumed

 

Heat displacement:

In real life, heat pumps are effectively the opposite process from that of a steam turbines. We could fix the efficiency in ONI to match that of the turbine, so that an aquatuner "feeding" a turbine would be neither power positive nor negative. On the other hand, just like the turbine efficiency improves with the input temperature, the heat pump efficiency improves the closer the input and output temperature are (in our case, the temperature outside the aquatuner vs the temperature of the working fluid). Since, more often than not in ONI, we would be taking heat away from sources quite a bit colder than the 95-200 C range of the turbines, their efficiency should be worse than that (in fact, much worse, but since we are fudging efficiencies anyway, might just decrease it a bit).

Note too that heat pumps "create" heat as they work, which corresponds to the consumed electric power. So, a more "realistic" aquatuner and thermoregulator would look like this:

  • Thermo regulator (any gas) : 480 kDTU/s removed from gas, 1680 DTU/s dissipated per 120 W -> 400 DTU displaced, 1000 DTU created per 1 J consumed
  • Thermo aquatuner (any liquid) : 4800 kDTU/s removed from liquid, 16800 DTU/s dissipated per 1200 W -> 400 DTU displaced, 1000 DTU created per 1 J consumed

Of note, to make these buildings work with a constant DTU/s (instead of temperature difference), either the temperature drop would have to depend on the working fluid, or, if we want to keep that fixed, the flux through the aquatuner would have to be throttled / sped up depending on the fluid. Or the flux and temperature difference could stay constant, with the power consumption of the aquatuner decreasing with lower heat capacity working fluids.

The coupling of the aquatuner's efficiency to that of the turbine, plus the fairly high efficiency of the turbine that we assumed, means that the aquatuner only releases heat 40% more "efficiently" than the actual heaters. EDIT: Additionally, it means that running a turbine solely with aquatuners is both power negative and heat positive. So turbines can't be used for heat deletion anymore, and are just useful to harness the power from the heat in volcanos, rocket launches, metal refinery and some geysers.

                                                                                                                                                                              

EDIT: Made errors in the thermal displacement section, grossly overestimating their efficiency. Thanks Gus Smedstad for pointing them out.

EDIT: The free thermal energy from power transformers is unwieldly to take advantage of, as pointed out by JohnFrancis.

 

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Liquid tepidizer : 4064 kDTU/s per 960 W -> 4230 DTU per 1 J consumed

(new) steam turbine (200 C steam) (based on this): 850 W produced, consuming 875 kDTU/s, displacing 64.3 kDTU/s -> 950 DTU consumed, 75.6 DTU displaced, for 1 J produced

Thermo aquatuner (with super coolant) : 1181.6 kDTU/s displaced per 1200 W -> 984000 DTU displaced per 1 J consumed

 

So one tepidizer can feed around 5 turbines and one Aquatuner around 1000? Thats extreme.

That would mean you can effectively use a steel aquatuner in a VERY simple setup to generate infinite power.

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You've got some errors in there.

33.6 kDTU / 240 watts = 140 DTU / joule, not 1400.

585 kDTU / 1200 watts = 487 DTU / joule, not 487,000.

1,186 kDTU / 1200 watts = 984 DTU / joule, not 984k DTU / joule.

EDIT: Which is not to minimize  your excellent work here.

It's always a good idea to run the numbers. I suspect that Klei hasn't really taken a hard look at either the space heater (which is relatively ineffective for something that's supposed to convert electricity to heat) or the tepidizer (which is effectively a perpetual motion machine since it converts electricity to heat at 4x the rate the steam turbine converts heat to electricity). If we take the new steam turbine as the standard, nothing should convert heat to electricity at better than, say, 800 DTU per joule.

I'd like to see the aquatuner and the thermoregulator work on a constant DTU basis, rather than a strict temperature basis where the medium determines how energy efficient they are. Both probably roughly where the aquatuner is now with water: ~480 DTU/joule. That's not particularly cheap, and prohibits an steam turbines from being energy-positive if you're transferring energy.

The one advantage of the current method is that it's very easy to understand and predict. If it moved to a DTU basis, I'd want the entry to mention temperature changes with common fluids like water.

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Just now, Grimgaw said:

Tepidizer stops working below boiling point of water.

He was assuming you could transfer the heat to steam for minimal energy cost. It's not true because his aquatuner numbers are off by 1000.

However,  it's a well known exploit that you can glitch a tepidizer into ignoring this limit. Unless that's been fixed in the QOL3 preview...?

It's not something I do, personally, since it's clearly not intended behavior.

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1 hour ago, Gus Smedstad said:

He was assuming you could transfer the heat to steam for minimal energy cost. It's not true because his aquatuner numbers are off by 1000.

However,  it's a well known exploit that you can glitch a tepidizer into ignoring this limit. Unless that's been fixed in the QOL3 preview...?

It's not something I do, personally, since it's clearly not intended behavior.

One reason why i care about this is that i have an tepidizer mod which disables the limit i must calculate how much it can produce to be power negative for my next update.

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6 minutes ago, Gus Smedstad said:

You've got some errors in there.

33.6 kDTU / 240 watts = 140 DTU / joule, not 1400.

585 kDTU / 1200 watts = 487 DTU / joule, not 487,000.

1,186 kDTU / 1200 watts = 984 DTU / joule, not 984k DTU / joule.

 

Well that was embarrassing :p

Now it seems that the aqua tuner is underpowered to me. We should be able to move more heat than we can create, for the same amount of power.

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2 minutes ago, Rainbowdesign said:

One reason why i care about this is that i have an tepidizer mod which disables the limit i must calculate how much it can produce to be power negative for my next update.

Honestly, the temperature limit for the tepidizer never made a lot of sense to me. There's no way I can justify it other than "because."

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1 minute ago, Gus Smedstad said:

Honestly, the temperature limit for the tepidizer never made a lot of sense to me. There's no way I can justify it other than "because."

For what it's worth, in real life, kettles work at 80 C until the water gets really hot. If they worked at a higher temperature, the water next to the heating element would boil, and stop transferring heat to the rest of the water.

...but yeah, in this case, I think it's indeed "just because"

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2 minutes ago, pacovf said:

 

Well that was embarrassing :p

Now it seems that the aqua tuner is underpowered to me. We should be able to move more heat than we can create, for the same amount of power.

I've made lots of dumb mistakes. It happens to all of us. Usually I catch stuff like that in proof reading, but sometimes I don't.

Your point about heat transfer vs. heat creation makes sense. That the aquatuner's not really balanced hasn't shown up in the past because it's still the most effective way of cooling, and if you ignore the tepidizer as an exploit, the most effective way of heating via power (as opposed to transferring natural heat sources via pipe radiators).

So, I take what I said earlier back. The balance point should be closer to what it is with supercoolant, i.e. 980-1000 DTU/joule transferred. At the lower limit, really.

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1 hour ago, Gus Smedstad said:

Honestly, the temperature limit for the tepidizer never made a lot of sense to me. There's no way I can justify it other than "because."

Indeed. Thats what i felt too and also it being so much stronger the the space heater did not make a load of sense too. Well i ended up with a space heater that melts itsself in 10 seconds or so it pretty cool :D (but you need to switch it off with automation)

 

For that version i think i have to reduce both heat output by 4/5 or so...

1 hour ago, pacovf said:
  •  
  • Thermo aquatuner (with water) : 585 kDTU/s displaced per 1200 W -> 487 DTU displaced per 1 J consumed
  • Thermo aquatuner (with super coolant) : 1181.6 kDTU/s displaced per 1200 W -> 984 DTU displaced per 1 J consumed

I wonder if that is intentionally.

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10 minutes ago, Gus Smedstad said:

Honestly, the temperature limit for the tepidizer never made a lot of sense to me. There's no way I can justify it other than "because."

If you look at what temperature is defined as tepid, it makes perfect sense. 

"Tepid water consists of two parts cold water and one part boiling water, which renders a temperature of about 40 degrees Celsius" 

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2 hours ago, beowulf2010 said:

If you look at what temperature is defined as tepid, it makes perfect sense. 

The definition of "tepid" is irrelevant. Electrical heaters - or any other kind of heater, actually - don't have magical temperature limits. Beyond the point where you destroy the heater by melting it, of course.

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Added a few more things to the OP.

The wiki implies that power transformers heat up with no energy runoff. If that is true, then power transformers are free energy. I assume this will be patched up.

Does anybody know how long it takes for the glass forge to do one run? It could be a significant source of heat for it's power, considering the extremely high output temperature of glass.

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10 minutes ago, Gus Smedstad said:

The definition of "tepid" is irrelevant. Electrical heaters - or any other kind of heater, actually - don't have magical temperature limits. Beyond the point where you destroy the heater by melting it, of course.

It's perfectly relevant. Klei named it a *TEPID*izer on purpose. The intended use of this particular building is literally in its name. If they wanted it to boil liquids, they would have named it a Liquid Boiler. 

Now, would it be nice to have a boiler? Yeah. Early game I sometimes find myself struggling to "find" enough heat to run aquatuners to boil things. 

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1 hour ago, beowulf2010 said:

It's perfectly relevant. Klei named it a *TEPID*izer on purpose.

Which is another way of saying "it's justified because reasons." Which is what I was saying before, and what I objected to.

"But it's defined that way" is not the point. "Klei wanted it that way" is not the point. The point is that in a game that more-or-less tries for physics that's at least adjacent to reality, the tepidizer stands out as having arbitrary, artificial limitations that don't make any sense in real life. That was the essence of my little sidebar with Pacovf and Rainbowdesign. Both of them understand full well what I'm talking about, and why.

It's not an important objection. Important objections center around how it's far too efficient at converting electricity into heat, to the point where it becomes a source of infinite energy if you can convert that heat back into electricity via the steam turbine. You can't because of the magical temperature limitation, though you can glitch your way around that.

 

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29 minutes ago, Gus Smedstad said:

Which is another way of saying "it's justified because reasons." Which is what I was saying before, and what I objected to.

"But it's defined that way" is not the point. "Klei wanted it that way" is not the point. The point is that in a game that more-or-less tries for physics that's at least adjacent to reality, the tepidizer stands out as having arbitrary, artificial limitations that don't make any sense in real life. That was the essence of my little sidebar with Pacovf and Rainbowdesign. Both of them understand full well what I'm talking about, and why.

It's not an important objection. Important objections center around how it's far too efficient at converting electricity into heat, to the point where it becomes a source of infinite energy if you can convert that heat back into electricity via the steam turbine. You can't because of the magical temperature limitation, though you can glitch your way around that.

 

Look. The tepidizer boils (haha, punny) down to one thing. Klei didn't want it to boil water so they clamped it to shut off at a certain temperature. The exact value, yes, is arbitrarily high at over double the defined tepid temperature. But the fact that it doesn't boil stuff is because *they didn't want it to.*

Is it realistic? Actually, yes. A water heater is designed to heat water to an arbitrary maximum temperature (under boiling) and then shut off for safety. A refrigerator is designed to stop cooling at a certain point so that things don't freeze because frozen milk sucks unless it's churned into ice cream. 

At some point, Klei decided they wanted to make something that generates heat in liquid but that they didn't want to give us an easy way to boil water. Thus, the tepidizer. 

Is it balanced? Probably not. I use them to melt ice biomes faster than I can leapfrog build/deconstruct a pair of tepidizers. 

Are they working as intended? Yes. Remember, tepidizers were pre-automation, so there was no way other than cutting power to it to shut it off. They are not meant to boil liquids, just like an airplane isn't supposed to go underwater. 

All I am trying to do is point out that the tepidizer isn't something they threw together on a whim "just because" and that it is a specifically designed piece of equipment that is intended for certain tasks, such as melting ice, warming too cold polluted water up for pincha pepper plants, and heating water up to kill food poisoning, among others. 

Yes, the majority of the intended purposes of the tepidizer are now more easily done with other systems. Yes, Rainbowdesign is correct that the tepidizer is a bit too power efficient. Yes, it is easily modded or exploited to generate free energy. Yes, it needs a balance pass or two. 

But no, it's not something that Klei put in the game and set a random shut off temperature under 103C "just because". 

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8 hours ago, pacovf said:

In fact, even just *moving* heat to the turbine with an aqua tuner is power negative, or *barely* power positive if using super coolant.

Super coolant aqua tuner is slightly power-negative. IIRC only a pulsed (read: glitched) tepidizer is power-positive.

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6 hours ago, pacovf said:

The wiki implies that power transformers heat up with no energy runoff. If that is true, then power transformers are free energy. I assume this will be patched up.

Your timing is impeccable, I can definitively say that you can exploit power transformers heat to produce "free" energy. But I can say with confidence that it's not cost effective enough to do that anyone would actually do it in a survival. outside of a joke no one would bother wasting the resources in a survival game.

Spoiler

 

 

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12 hours ago, pacovf said:

Metal refinery (steel) : 2340 kDTU/s per 1200 W -> 1950 DTU per 1 J consumed

You mentioned ignoring input output, but you still included the heat dispatched in coolant. I don't have problem understanding that, but I did find it confusing.

My opinion, 1. while DTU / J is an interesting way to look at thermal emission, DTU / s will be the decisive factor. A light bulb of 10 W will produce less heat than a oxygen diffuser (even tho a cluster of bulbs will produce more) 2. I think diversity is important. Different heating devices having different heat output (rate) as well as working condition restriction add a lot more fun and space for creativity than having all devices with similar electricity to heat conversion rate, in which case, all you need to do to get a certain level of heat production is to just choose a power level.

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8 hours ago, beowulf2010 said:

But no, it's not something that Klei put in the game and set a random shut off temperature under 103C "just because". 

By "just because" I mean that there's no rational explanation as to why it has a 85 C limit beyond the developers arbitrarily deciding that it can't get hotter than that. You keep skipping over that part, even though that's the specific objection I was raising before. "Working as intended" was never part of my concern one way or the other.

Your focus from the start - "look at the name!" - has been completely unrelated to why the tepidizer has always bothered me. "It has built in controls" is the first time you've offered a rationalization beyond "it has tepid in the name" (as if that mattered) and IMHO that's is just a bit of hand-waving, particularly since nothing else in the game has "built in controls." Stuff getting out of hand unless managed is pretty much the theme of the game.

If you look at my original remark, the one you felt the need to correct because of the name of the device, I was responding to Rainbowdesign, who said that he removed the limit with a mod. I was saying, in effect, that such a mod was perfectly understandable since the tepidizer's temperature limit was clearly an artificial barrier thrown in by Klei because they wanted to, not because there was any logical reason beyond developer fiat.

The tepidizer is also way out of balance, and I strongly suspect that the chain of events was: someone put it in the game with arbitrary power requirements and heat values without doing the math, someone else pointed out it made boiling water too easy compared to other methods, and instead of doing the right thing and fixing the DTU / joule ratio, they slapped an arbitrary temperature limit on it.

There are enough things in the game that are clearly off in terms of math - the original hydrofan, space heaters, thermo regulators, the steam turbine prior to QOL3 - that I think this sort of design process is typical for ONI.

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This is the 85° limit makes the incredibly small power cost not exploitable with the turbine.

The turbine being the only heat => power option, I use it as the metric, and as such I consider than 1 thermal kiloWatt, also called kDTU/s compares to 1 electrical Watt. This makes the Tepidizer 400% efficient.

 

The 85° limit being introduced before automation makes perfect sense, and still does as an option for players who don't like/understand automation.

 

The Aquatuner similarly cannot be used to make power (or marginal amounts of around 100W per turbine). While it is supposed to transfer heat, the power it uses could also translate as heating by Joule effect.

However the Aquatuner is mandatory, despite it's high power cost in 2 situations :
- Heating something above the hottest source you have (up to 275° for steel, 1000° for thermium)

- Cooling something below the coldest source you have -> liquid O2/H

Transfering heat should be done passively as much as possible, unless you're ok with paying the 1200W.

 

However much I would like to, neither the tepidizer or aquatuner can be used to create/convert into power

Rather than removing the 85° limit with a mod, I'd rather make another building that specifically heats stuff (like the space heater) at realistic efficiency (1kDTU/W)

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