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# Getting power from ethanol actually does not worth it and my feedback on it

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DarkMoge    139

I recently came back to the game and was checking out the new features... It came to my attention that a lot of people are all over the ethanol for power and water idea... So, I started calculating how much does it actually take to run petroleum generator on ethanol... and well... my calculation led me to the conclusion that it is really bad... It requires a lot of high tech to actually gain anything from it, a basic setup results in net negative in everything.

Long story short: you need to consume at least 1720 W to run 2000 W petroleum generator with a basic setup. That is not counting W usage for the arbor tree farm, disposal of polluted dirt and polluted water, not to mention auto-sweepers. Also, the system does not actually produce water, it consumes water. The thing is, you need 2 arbor trees per distillery, not 1. The system produces 450 kg of polluted water per cycle and 8 arbor trees that you need consume 560 kg polluted water per cycle. On top of that, the system requires a lot of duplicant work to run.

Now, long story long:
Setting up the most basic sustainable system requires a lot of research, practically, you need to research almost everything (some exceptions such as rockets, critter lures, decoration). While it looks like you are about to reach your goal and get ton of power + ton of water, you actually do not. First of all, 1 petroleum generator to produce 2000 W at all times requires 4 ethanol distilleries which consume 240 W each for total 960 W... So, the upper line for how much power one could get from it is 1040 W. Which does not sound bad at first, until you actually realize the amount of CO2 and heat the thing produces. It is kind of the only things it is good at: producing CO2 and heat.

Well, CO2 might be what you are looking for to feed your slickster farm, it actually produces 1166 g/s of CO2, enough to feed your 35 slicksters farm... But if you are at the point of ranching that many slicksters, you probably do not need anything. So, the problem arises, what to do with CO2. The most basic thing you could do is carbon skimmers. You could try saving energy by making a setup that cools down CO2 into solid and store it somewhere, but if you are like me, you will not even consider making a setup that produces continuously growing loose end. How many carbon skimmers do you actually need? About 4 carbon skimmers... But lets be generous and take more precise number 3.8889. To run that many skimmers you need 3.8889*120=466W. You also need water sieve or some other way to clean the water, the max capacity for the sieve is 5kg/s... To process 3.888kg/s, we need 3.888/5*120=93W. So, rounding a bit, that is extra 560W.
1040W-560W=480W

We are not done yet, the whole setup will produce about 50 kDTU and its not the amount of heat that you can just leave. Lets say, you are keeping in an atmosphere of roughtly 50 kg of oxygen at 0C, just within one cycle it will effectively produce enough heat to turn all that oxygen into 600C hot oxygen. I would love to say that you need to deal with just 50 kDTU, but the polluted dirt and CO2 come out at pretty hot temperature, above the overheating temperature of 75C, so, you actually need even more cooling. Thermo regulators on hydrogen can only move 33.6 kDTU. So, one needs to hook up the system with a thermo aquatuner that uses water to cool down... You will need to cool down the aquatuner too, but lets say that you have it figured out. You do not need the full efficiency of the thermo aquatuner to produce enough cooling... With water as the medium, you will need about 200W for the thermo aquatuner. You can save half of it if you have access to steel and plastic to make steam turbine.
480-200=280W

Its a bit of hard to calculate how much energy do you need to run the autosweepers and loaders, but the energy required should be pretty small, it is more of a tech restriction. On the other hand, you might want to think about what to do with that hot polluted dirt, to make it usable, you might either consider to precool it to below 30C or you will later need to cool your farms for same amount. The excessive heat production through polluted dirt is about 70 kDTU. That means using about 150W on aquatuner cooling somewhere. The produced polluted water is at 40C which might also be above the desired temperature... To cool down water to 30C, you need to negate about 32 kDTU. Which is another 70W on aquatuners. Also, you need to pipe the water somewhere, pump can pipe 10 kg/s, with 750 g/s production, you need 0.75/10*240=18W.

In the end, petroleum generator barely produces enough power to self sustain, it cant really feed your base all the power... There is a way to get 1000W by boosting the generator, but it requires a lot of refined metal which takes quite a lot of work to produce constantly. Also, the system produces dirt, about 800 kg per cycle actually, though, some of it will be used for sustaining arbor trees.

About water though... And getting lumber for that matter... I did not manage to find any way to automatically harvest lumber, I might have missed something, but so far it seems like its a lot of duplicant work that might be better used by making them run on the hamster wheel. Each distillery consumes 600 kg of lumber per cycle, each arbor tree at ideal condition makes 333.3 kg per cycle... At ideal condition, you need a bit less than 2 trees, but in practice, you need to account for dupes taking their sweet time to harvest that lumber and should consider overproducing, putting more than 2 trees per distillery... so, with 8 trees, each consuming 70 kg of polluted water per cycle and 10 kg of dirt per cycle, you need 560 kg of water and 80 kg of dirt per cycle... The problem is that the petroleum generator produces only 450 kg of water per cycle. There are ways to save the water though. One could try making pips plant 32 wild trees which takes really looong to setup and requires a lot of space + it takes even longer to obtain tree seeds, since, in my experience, you do not even start with 32 trees. Though, you could consider running the system at lower efficiencies.

Another way to try and obtain water from the system is by using Fertilizer Synthesizer which is another 120W and also requires dreckos... But lets say, you can spare that power and have dreckos...Dirt should not be a problem, so its just 23.4 kg of polluted water per cycle. It also comes with hot natural gas which could technically be used to reclaim some of the power and water, but more likely, it will cause a lot of hassle to deal with... What fertilizer does is make the plants grow 2 times faster by using the duplicant work (which might be better used by making them run on hamster wheel), one fertilizer gives enough for 14 uses. I have not tested this, but I assume that 1 tree properly counts as 1 use and not 5. So, technically, needing 8 trees could be turned into needing 4 trees. Instead of 560 kg, it will be about 300 kg of polluted water per cycle.

There are some other ways to make the system more efficient, but it is already a huge hassle to make even a basic setup. My problem with it is that it is practically a "dirt generator 2000". There are a plenty of power generators and water generators that are easier to setup and are fully automatic. Also, pips produce much less dirt, but setting up a pip ranch is much easier and comes with the benefits of making food.

I believe that whole idea of lumber -> ethanol distillery -> petroleum generator should be buffed in some way... It really just requires too much research to even attempt making the system when you could much more easily find a natural gas geyser and hook it up with natural gas generator. It does not work as an early game power option, because of all the research required and it might be hard to figure out for newer players. It does not work as late game power source either, since oil and solar panels outclass it, not too mention some of the more difficult setups. Perhaps, it should not be as punishing trying to make domestic arbor trees... Why do wild arbor trees have to be infinitely better? If we make all that water into oxygen, 1 domestic arbor tree pretty much consumes as much as an entire duplicant... Instead of trying to do a lumber farm, I might as well add another dupe to my colony and make it run on the hamster wheel. 70 kg/cycle is just too much, I feel like somewhere in the world of 20 kg/cycle would make the whole idea much more appealing. Another idea, maybe, ethanol distilleries consume too much power on their own, maybe, it would be more interesting if there was a more advanced method of obtaining ethanol with more benefits or maybe instead of consuming 240W, they should consume 120W?

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That's alot of words... I didn't read the long version. But I think the real reason people are talking so much about it is just because it's the newest content, and the production chain is complex enough to keep people interested.

I think there are a few differences from your approach to what others are doing. I think most people are using lumber from wild arbor trees (and maybe exploiting pip-planting to get lots of them). Once you do that, the system has no cost to run other than the power input (and as you said, it generates a small but positive net power).

Also, I think alot of people consider the byproducts an asset rather than a liability. Polluted dirt and water are easy to turn into clean dirt and water, which gives food and oxygen (or food for sage hatches or whatever).

I do agree it requires a fair bit of infrastructure and dupe time though, especially if you're manually hauling lumber any distance. But with a no-cost system that generates power, water and dirt, then you can offset it by having more dupes, using the byproducts to feed/oxygenate them. If you can spare the processor power.

I personally don't produce alot of ethanol for power, simply because the gain is so small for the required effort. I've got a setup more for disposing of lumber (which is a byproduct of my pip farm) than for providing for the base. But in a tight spot, it might be a stopgap for a longer term solution.

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DarkMoge    139
6 minutes ago, SamuraiJones said:

That's alot of words... I didn't read the long version. But I think the real reason people are talking so much about it is just because it's the newest content, and the production chain is complex enough to keep people interested.

I think there are a few differences from your approach to what others are doing. I think most people are using lumber from wild arbor trees (and maybe exploiting pip-planting to get lots of them). Once you do that, the system has no cost to run other than the power input (and as you said, it generates a small but positive net power).

Also, I think alot of people consider the byproducts an asset rather than a liability. Polluted dirt and water are easy to turn into clean dirt and water, which gives food and oxygen (or food for sage hatches or whatever).

I do agree it requires a fair bit of infrastructure and dupe time though, especially if you're manually hauling lumber any distance. But with a no-cost system that generates power, water and dirt, then you can offset it by having more dupes, using the byproducts to feed/oxygenate them. If you can spare the processor power.

I personally don't produce alot of ethanol for power, simply because the gain is so small for the required effort. I've got a setup more for disposing of lumber (which is a byproduct of my pip farm) than for providing for the base. But in a tight spot, it might be a stopgap for a longer term solution.

I have mentioned all of that in long version. It is just not worth the effort.

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ruhrohraggy    267

Don't forget all of that yummy co2 produced. Co2 -> Slicksters -> Petroleum.

I use the heat from my metal refineries to heat the co2 to maintain molten slicksters, I also use the heat to cook any crude oil into petroleum.

This is how you (For the most part) automatically harvest arbor trees. Disable auto-harvest, branches fall off on their own.

Once I get a couple extra dupes, I'll probably stick one on tree trimming duty.

Having a polluted h2O geyser is extremely helpful...

And the systems not all *that* hard.

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DarkMoge    139
5 minutes ago, ruhrohraggy said:

Don't forget all of that yummy co2 produced. Co2 -> Slicksters -> Petroleum.

I use the heat from my metal refineries to heat the co2 to maintain molten slicksters, I also use the heat to cook any crude oil into petroleum.

This is how you (For the most part) automatically harvest arbor trees. Disable auto-harvest, branches fall off on their own.

Having a polluted h2O geyser is extremely helpful...

during my tests, I never got the branches fall off on their own... It might be because I kept the arbor trees inside the ranch with pips when testing. How long do they take to fall off on their own? For domestic and wild?

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ruhrohraggy    267
5 minutes ago, DarkMoge said:

during my tests, I never got the branches fall off on their own... It might be because I kept the arbor trees inside the ranch with pips when testing. How long do they take to fall off on their own? For domestic and wild?

I believe it's 4 cycles for things to fall off, don't quote me on that though, I haven't really been paying attention. I know it works though, because my dupes haven't touched those trees in 100 cycles, and you can see all of that yummy co2 i have.

Oh, and tune-ups are also a breeze if you dug out the bottom. You get more lead than you can shake a stick at. i think i have 60 tons of lead atm. Once you open up space, then you get refined iron falling from the sky.

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Lafara    28

all this deficit came from basis of sustainable Power Plant working 24 hrs per cycle, view point.

during early, dupe colony should have less Power consumption. for all reason available, less heat, less duplicant maintenance work, less resource consumption, less hazzle drafting more power plant, power heavy watt wire.

change view point to non-sustainable power plant , I find this 1 Petroleum generator reliable.

- don't have to provide enough Ethanol generation rate, just have large enough ethanol reservoir for Petroleum generator to run full time for a duration. need longer duration : extend larger ethanol pool. even drown Liquid Reservoir (building) inside ethanol pool (empty space) is fine.

- don't have to provide enough Lumber generation rate, by the time you access Petroleum generator. You should have 300+ tons lumber in storage from natural arbor tree, IF you can manage them  just feed massive lumber to your 1 ethanol distiller. separate distiller wire circuit to a dedicated hamster wheel room with few battery. have some newbie duplicant train their leg muscle there. by the time their training is complete. you get additional ethanol to use .... later

- don't have to goes straight to ethanol burner, burn some hydrogen while you at it.

remember , ONI is resource management game. whether you channel resource into Oxygen,food,electric power. your choice.

PS. domesticated arbor tree branch take resource 4.5 cycle to grow and take another 4 cycle to harvest itself !?

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wd_    28

I feel like all I'm doing on this forum is defending the ethanol power generation.

You don't have to spend that amount of power to maintain the plant. One generator gives you just below 1kW pure power, and if it's not - you are doing it wrong.

You spend 960W on distillers, 18W on water pump for self-cooling and water removal and 92W on auto sweepers. I can give you exact calculations if you want me to.

The output is 930W of pure power per generator and some polluted water at 40-70C depending on your setup (pwater balance of the system may be positive or negative depending on the number of wild arbor trees that you have).

CO2? Oh, my, god. Forget about the CO2 already! Just ignore it, let it collect in the power station room to 200-300kg/tile until you can dig a hole to space and release it.

I've had a base with ethanol as the main source of power (4 generators running forever sustainably). It does not overheat. It does not need maintenance.

If you need more details, see here:

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MorsDux    174

There is no sustainable way to produce enough polluted dirt (for pokeshell farming) other than the lumber-ethanol chain, thats reason enough for it;)

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Lurve    384

If you just want power, you can use wood generators. They make the same net power-per-lumber as an ethanol distiller + petroleum gen.

The first reason to use an ethanol system is the byproducts. It makes dirt easily renewable, and the accumulating polluted dirt can directly provide O2. It offgases slowly, so it will take a while to build up, but it's 100% efficient.

Ethanol power comes into its own when you factor in tuneups and fertilization. Then it's a net 2 kW in power, and a positive water loop running on (iirc) 4 domestic trees.

I've been surprised at how easy they make space access. Four distillers make more CO2 than a two-tile hole to space can completely vent, so you can just leave it open and never have to worry about airlocks again.

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All this arguing about ethanol makes me want to start a new Arboria colony, just so I'm forced to explore ethanol. I'm 90% sure that the people complaining about it are Doing It Wrong, and undervaluing the byproducts, but I have no direct experience yet.

Foolish me, I decided to run a Terra colony as my first post-Launch colony. Just so I'd be able to deal with changes in a somewhat familiar environment. And there have been some meaningful ones, like not being able to use the water sieve to dump heat from a metal refinery early.

I'm compulsive enough that I feel the need to run this first colony all the way to the end game before starting a new one, but I keep being tempted by these talks of other environments.

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DarkMoge    139

if trees drop their lumber after 4 cycles than the generator requires around 16 trees to run fully automatically... which requires 1120 kg of water... basically, thats 1120-450=670 kg of water per cycle... instead, you could feed that water to electrolyzer and support 10 duplicants with oxygen... electrolyzer + hydro generator does not consume power, it gives net positive power. 2 fully commited ranchers can support about 8 full ranches which depending on the ranch type will wary in food output. 2 ranchers with pip ranches will provide enough barbeque for 16 duplicants which is more than 10... hatch and drecko ranches are even better for barbeque. If you running on harder difficulty, You can get enough food with 3 ranchers. Than, you put 7 other duplicants on hamster wheels with 50 seconds of free time and 50 seconds of sleep which results in dupes running for 500 seconds a cycle for average 333W... for total over 2200W which already is more than Petroleum generator on ethanol could ever dream to provide. That is not taking into account the extra power from hydrogen generators working in background.

Sustaining 1 tree is basically sustaining 1 duplicant.

There is another source of renewable energy -> solar panels, setting up 1000 W on solar panels + shine bugs is pretty easy and you can forget about it.

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The best thing is that you don't need ethanol right away, so you can let the lumber build up.  I hide all my seeds except for Arbor and clear some lanes and let the pips plant them all over.  I'm looking at my current base and I have over 122k lumber laying around and the entire work for that was one storage container to distribute the seeds to the Pips and a couple of dig orders to give them some more space.

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Mutineer    27
3 hours ago, DarkMoge said:

Long story short: you need to consume at least 1720 W to run 2000 W petroleum generator with a basic setup. That is not counting W usage for the arbor tree farm, disposal of polluted dirt and polluted water, not to mention auto-sweepers. Also, the system does not actually produce water, it consumes water. The thing is, you need 2 arbor trees per distillery, not 1. The system produces 450 kg of polluted water per cycle and 8 arbor trees that you need consume 560 kg polluted water per cycle. On top of that, the system requires a lot of duplicant work to run.

2

Here is your basic error. Petroleum generator can produce 3000 W of power. Does not one use power room? If something worth dupe time, it is tuning up petroleum generator. It increases power output by 50% for god sake.

Your second base error, you can transfer any biome with some work to grow wild trees. NO more polluted water consumption.

Next, you can use sliksters farm to consume CO2. Take time. In the meantime, you can store compressed Co2, very low power cost of storage.

Yes, it requires planning and time, but that is the nature of a renewable solution. I myself run a combination of petroleum generators and coal generator. My food comes from eggs and meat of creatures that produce coal for me.

I actually to lazy to design autosweepers, my dupes do all and still have alot of free time, so bunch idle If I do not give orders.

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ruhrohraggy    267
2 hours ago, wd_ said:

CO2? Oh, my, god. Forget about the CO2 already! Just ignore it, let it collect in the power station room to 200-300kg/tile until you can dig a hole to space and release it.

Not like my ranchers have anything better to do with their lives than hugging slicksters...

Too hung up on all this math. This type of system doesn't even need all that much math. 3x Tuned up gens give you more than enough surplus power to run 12x Distillers, 6x autosweepers the aquatuner to cool everything (and then some) and the pumps you need to handle the co2 and then give you surplus ethanol on top of that.

Right now, I have 170t of polluted dirt that I'm going to experiment making oxygen with. There's also probably 3-4t of co2 sitting in that room waiting for my slickster farm to catch up.

If you can't locate a polluted water geyser, then you don't get to go quite as willy nilly with ethanol, oh well. Use pips to wild plant them trees or something.

When I started this little experiment, there was no ethanol at the bottom...I still don't have enough slicksters to support the co2 output yet, as there were only 2 in my oil biome and I'm having to breed them from scratch...but soon I will...and the petroleum will flow freely.

There is no right or wrong way to do something in ONI unless your colony dies. Variety is the spice of life eh? The one thing I like about this system is that it hardly takes any duplicants to manage. It is practically fully automated aside from the petrol gen tune-ups...

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Mutineer    27

Long story short: you need to consume at least 1720 W to run 2000 W petroleum generator with a basic setup. That is not counting W usage for the arbor tree farm, disposal of polluted dirt and polluted water, not to mention auto-sweepers. Also, the system does not actually produce water, it consumes water. The thing is, you need 2 arbor trees per distillery, not 1. The system produces 450 kg of polluted water per cycle and 8 arbor trees that you need consume 560 kg polluted water per cycle. On top of that, the system requires a lot of duplicant work to run.

2

Here is your basic error. Petroleum generator can produce 3000 W of power. Does not one use power room? If something worth dupe time, it is tuning up petroleum generator. It increases power output by 50% for god sake.

Your second base error, you can transfer any biome with some work to grow wild trees. NO more polluted water consumption.

Next, you can use sliksters farm to consume CO2. Take time. In the meantime, you can store compressed Co2, very low power cost of storage.

Yes, it requires planning and time, but that is the nature of a renewable solution. I myself run a combination of petroleum generators and coal generator. My food comes from eggs and meat of creatures that produce coal for me.

I actually to lazy to design autosweepers, my dupes do all and still have alot of free time, so bunch idle If I do not give orders.

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Loscil2    81

Also you can feed polluted dirt to Pokeshells. Gives back sand, eggs and also the shells they leave behind can be crushed into Lime. Lime, dude. Steel.

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Junksteel    818
2 hours ago, Gus Smedstad said:

All this arguing about ethanol makes me want to start a new Arboria colony, just so I'm forced to explore ethanol.

I have no precise data but I have the feeling that the byproducts from ethanol distiller are way too much. I'm playing at Arboria and my initial plan was to rely purely on Ethanol as a power source but I slowly migrated to other sources since I had already over 1000t of dirt and 2 carbon skimmers running full time only for the ethanol chain area seemed to not even touch the immense cloud of CO2 I was stacking. Ofc I could ranch slicksters to get rid of it but I didn't want to have massive amount of critters in my map and it would deviate anyway from the original purpose of relying purely on Ethanol as I'd create excess of oil instead.

I think the main question must be: can ethanol be the only single source of power if not combined with massive slicksters ranching?

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Trego    92
18 minutes ago, Junksteel said:

I think the main question must be: can ethanol be the only single source of power if not combined with massive slicksters ranching?

Yes, as has been said a million times already, just vent the co2 to space; not pumping to space, but simply making a hole up to space and letting it slowly flow away.

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Loscil2    81
19 minutes ago, Junksteel said:

Why not raise enough sage hatches (or normal ones although) and feed all that coal to coal gens? That's what I did to get rid of all the sandstone and dirt and sand and basically all material i had too much already.

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Junksteel    818
3 minutes ago, Trego said:

Yes, as has been said a million times already, just vent the co2 to space; not pumping to space, but simply making a hole up to space and letting it slowly flow away.

Yes, but is it good? This is one of the problems. The other one being 14 composters running non stop. Pretty labor intensive if we choose to process the byproducts instead of just dumping it.

I mean, it feels odd that ethanol generates much more "pollution" than burning fossil fuel.

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MorsDux    174

you can also create natural tiles by dropping some algea, slime, dirt or polluted dirt on the ground and heating it up. So if you are dedicated you can have infinite and perfectly placed wild lumber production.

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Loscil2    81
11 minutes ago, Junksteel said:

Yes, but is it good? This is one of the problems. The other one being 14 composters running non stop. Pretty labor intensive if we choose to process the byproducts instead of just dumping it.

I mean, it feels odd that ethanol generates much more "pollution" than burning fossil fuel.

Processing polluted dirt can be automated via pokeshells /sage hatches (they can be wild)

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Junksteel    818
12 minutes ago, Loscil2 said:

Processing polluted dirt can be automated via pokeshells /sage hatches (they can be wild)

Ofc there are many solutions but how likely are they? I'm just trying to point out that there are easier and cleaner ways to generate power. In the case of ethanol chain, the byproducts seem to shine more than the power production itself. Nothing wrong with that if it's a design decision but we already have the steam turbine on that spot and I'm not a big fan of that approach. Well, we got defeated in the battle for weezeworts so I guess this is the way things must remain.

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Zarquan    1018
6 hours ago, DarkMoge said:

First of all, 1 petroleum generator to produce 2000 W at all times requires 4 ethanol distilleries which consume 240 W each for total 960 W... So, the upper line for how much power one could get from it is 1040 W. Which does not sound bad at first, until you actually realize the amount of CO2 and heat the thing produces. It is kind of the only things it is good at: producing CO2 and heat.

You could hook it up with a power station to get an extra 1000 W out of it per generator.  Now that refined metal is renewable, this should be a consideration.

6 hours ago, DarkMoge said:

But if you are at the point of ranching that many slicksters, you probably do not need anything.

I have over 200 slicksters and I experience constant brownouts on everything.

6 hours ago, DarkMoge said:

About water though... And getting lumber for that matter... I did not manage to find any way to automatically harvest lumber, I might have missed something, but so far it seems like its a lot of duplicant work that might be better used by making them run on the hamster wheel. Each distillery consumes 600 kg of lumber per cycle, each arbor tree at ideal condition makes 333.3 kg per cycle... At ideal condition, you need a bit less than 2 trees, but in practice, you need to account for dupes taking their sweet time to harvest that lumber and should consider overproducing, putting more than 2 trees per distillery... so, with 8 trees, each consuming 70 kg of polluted water per cycle and 10 kg of dirt per cycle, you need 560 kg of water and 80 kg of dirt per cycle... The problem is that the petroleum generator produces only 450 kg of water per cycle. There are ways to save the water though

If you take the CO2, feed it to slicksters, and burn the crude oil to petroleum or natural gas, you gain water from ethanol.  Specifically, 1 arbor tree producing 333.33333 kg/cycle costs 70 kg/cycle polluted water.  A natural gas boiler produces 89.16 kg/cycle through a natural gas boiler with that much CO2 through slicksters, resulting in a profit of 19.16 kg/cycle polluted water.  A petroleum burner or molten slicksters nets you 83.34 kg/cycle water, which is less impressive, but still very nice.  Even if you turn it in to crude oil and put it through a refinery, you still get around 72.93 kg water/cycle, so it is slightly water positive.  Plus you get all that wonderful polluted dirt which can be made in to food.

But, if you don't want to compost the dirt, that's fine.  Just let it offgas to oxygen or feed it to pokeshells.  Or you could burn it in to dirt to save dupe labor at the cost of 50% material.

6 hours ago, DarkMoge said:

Another idea, maybe, ethanol distilleries consume too much power on their own, maybe, it would be more interesting if there was a more advanced method of obtaining ethanol with more benefits or maybe instead of consuming 240W, they should consume 120W?

I like this.  Either have them generate more material or reduce the power.