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Some Deep Thoughts: Chemical Industry-based Refinement Processes and Chemical Hazards

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    As a chemist, I am extremely fascinated by how many diverse pathways to convert materials in this game, which’s the main reason I enjoy ONI so much. As I played, I sensed there could be some more efficient and sustainable ways to produce materials in this game based on my knowledge.


New Element: Catalyst

    Please add a new artificial solid “Catalyst”, this is what most of my conceptual buildings will be using. It can be manufactured from a molecular forge using 1 unit each of gold, iron, and refined carbon. Melt temp is 2000°C. Catalyst is the crucial material for many chemical refinement processes I’ll introduce below, including water-splitting, gas-phase sedimentation of carbon dioxide to refined carbon and clean oxygen, and greener industrial fertilizer synthesis. Dupes with Tune-up (or chemical engineering, the parallel of electrical engineering) skills can supply catalyst to electrolyzer, carbon splitter (more advanced than carbon skimmer), and fertilizer synthesizer, in a way similar to an engie’s tune-up for power plants using microchips. The room enabling refinement facilities’ tune-up is called “chemical factory”.


Electrolyzer Tuning-up

    Catalyst can increase water-splitting conversion rate of electrolyzer, generating O2 and H2 three times faster than default rate, aka, triple material produced per second at the same old rate of power consumption and heat generation. Electrolyzers require manual insertion of catalysts and constant tune-up by a dupe each cycle to achieve such effect.  


CO2 Splitter

     Please add a new carbon dioxide splitting machine to produce 30% refined carbon and 70% clean oxygen from input CO2 mass. It's better way to deal with CO2 than skimmer and needs no water supply. Carbon splitter requires a renewal of catalyst to maintain functional, similar to that of a water sieve. For fair game, it should set to be more power-demanding than a carbon skimmer, like in same range as a Rock Crusher.


Chemical Fertilizer Synthesizer

    Please make a greener, and more realistic version of fertilizer synthesizer based on chemical principle. It shall not require any dirt nor leak natural gas. It inputs polluted water (nitrogen source) & phosphorite to synthesize fertilizer and outputs water. Fertilizer, mainly diammonium phosphate [(NH4)2HPO4], is formed in the reaction between polluted water (source of ammonia and urea) and phosphorite (P2O5, dissolves in water to give H3PO4). Since its solubility decreases with temp, the synthesizer requires power to chill out the solution and constant removal of water to crystallize fertilizer out. It yields 1kg solid fertilizer and 1kg clean water per kg of phosphorite and polluted water. This way it can be more manageable to automate since the only limiting reagent requiring manual delivery is phosphorite. Catalyst is optional but using one will double production rate per cycle. 


Catalyzed Ethanol Distillatory

    Please add a new version of ethanol distillatory: natural gas + water  --(catalyst required)-->  ethanol + hydrogen 

Warning: This is an conceptual reaction chemists expect in future, don't write this in a chemistry exam! This technology haven't been invented in real world yet. 



1. Makes 2 different combustibles from 1 combustible and 1 non-combustible from a naturally abundant renewable source.  

2. Makes ethanol to farm nosh beans in absence of lumber.  

3. Create more use of natural gas.

3. Hydrogen is a versatile fuel and great coolant.  

4. Pollution free: No Pwater nor Pdirt generation. 100% carbon conversion rate & atom economy. No CO2 emission at all.


1. As heat generation intensive as the current distillatory using lumber. Heat management required to avoid overheating. 

2. Renewal of catalyst is similar to the renewal of sand for a water sieve. No waste produced and cannot recycle composing elements (Au, Fe & C). 


Catalyzing Carbon Skimmer into a Super Oxide Skimmer

Vanilla: CO2 + H2O -(skimmer)-> polluted water

SO2 + H2O -(skimmer with catalyst) -> sulfuric acid

O2 + H2O -(skimmer with catalyst) -> Hydrogen Peroxide (Can be used as a rocket fuel)


Chemical Hazard Mechanism

   Dupes, plants and critters, or basically anything made of genetic ooze should be careful around corrosive liquid and gas chemicals, if they contact these chemicals longer than 30 seconds, they will be corroded and begin dropping health level. Dupes will show an "Corroding" warning, similar to "Scalding", and will pop a "Chemical Burn" animation as their health level drops below 100%. When health drops to 0, they will be dead.

List of Hazardous Chemical:Chlorine, sour gas, sulfuric acid, hypochloric acid (bleach), hydrochloric acid (HCl), hydrogen peroxide, Piranha solution, Aqua Regia, benzene.

Only tiles made out of glass or diamond can withstand liquid corrosives.



Chlorine Chemistry: Conversion between Chlorine, Lime and Bleach Stone

Sublimating Bleach Stone to Lime

    In current version, bleach stone only sublime to chlorine, which doesn't make sense chemically. It should left lime behind in 40% of the original bleach stone mass. In other words, 2/3 g lime should be left behand per gram of chlorine sublimed. In this way, lime can be obtained from a relatively abundant natural mineral source.


Expanding Oxylite Refinery to a General Volatile Ore Refinery

    Please make this building more useful by explanding items it can synthesize:

Chlorine + lime -> Bleach stone

Polluted Oxygen + gold -> Polluted Dirt

Polluted Water + algae -> Slime (clean, no slimelung germs)


Sulfur Chemistry: Making Sulfur Super-useful, or Dangerous

   Please make sulfur a combustible substitue for coal generator. Burnig sulfur will results in sulfur dioxide (SO2) instead, similar to CO2 as an unbreathable gas. Skimming SO2 with water will produce Sulfuric acid, a brand new versatile, yet hazardous element able to produce a large family of downstream products. Sulfuric acid can be used to dissolve and dispose of any unwanted organics, like rotten piles and polluted dirt, to make polluted water and sand. It can also process lumber into reed fiber in a Rock Crusher. When reacting it with lime, a new element Gypsum is created. Gypsum is an excellent building material for decor and insulation. It can also be built into a sculpting block that provide even stronger decor than granite.

  Dupes and critters can be corroded and killed when contact sulfuric acid long enough. If their corpus stayed in sulfuric acid for longer than 3 cycles, they will be turned into polluted water and sand. Atmo suit will protect Dupes in sulfuric acid. 

  If parasites and fungi are introduced in future game, sulfur can be the starting material for making pesticides and fungicides. Processing Sulfur and Iron in Metal Refinery will give pyrite, a sulfide mineral for making semiconductors.  


Piranha Solution

   Adding sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide in the same chamber yields piranha solution, an ultra-corrosive solution that can kill and decompose any creature made out of genetic ooze instantly, and can dissolve metal ores and refined metals. Their final fate will be polluted water and sand. Player is there to decide weather they would like to make this solution to depose materials. 


Hydrochloric acid and Aqua Regia

   Mixing bleach and hydrogen peroxide yields hydrochloric acid (HCl) and oxygen. HCl is also an corrosive liquid. Throwing lime into it makes salt water. When mixing it with sulfuric acid, Aqua Regia will be made and has the same effect as Piranha solution. 


Niter, TNT and Explosive Application

    Please add a new chemical benzene that can be synthesized from propane using catalyst in a molecular forge. Please add a new natural mineral Niter that can be excavated from tide pool biome. Throwing niter into a tank of sulfuric acid produces nitric acid and salt. An explosive TNT can be synthesized in molecular forge: Nitric acid + benzene -(catalyst)-> TNT.  TNT can be triggered by a hammer to explode solids in a radius of 20 tiles/kg of TNT for instant excavation and massive deconstruction aid. Unprotected dupes and critters within 20 tile explosion range will get 5 health drop per tile closer to the center of explosion, and get Popped Eardrums effect within 30 tile radius from explosion center. 


    These are my little chemistry ideas for more efficient and manageable material conversion methods, as well as increased chemcial hazard that goes along with it, which requires wiseful management from player to keep safe and productive. I believe they'll greatly expand playability and allow exploration of greater possibility, especially the sulfuric acid part. Comment below and let me know if you would like to see them in the game.

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I would agree most of those suggestion, truely make the game to a whole new level.

Except for the "Bleach Stone Precipitation" part. Using Lime and Cl2 to produce bleach stome might sounds chemically plausible, but will not be a good idea game balance wise. As some of us players (e.g. me) do not like the idea of mass ranching, which in curret game is the only way to produce lime. While the pathetic amount of lime I DO produce goes straight into steel production. I certainly won't spare lime for bleach stones.

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Just now, ISS Proxima said:

I was thinking there should also be a power consuming process to turn granite into lime, so there's an option to avoid ranching compltely

Sounds very plausible. I agree crushing a slim production of pokeshell molts and egg shells is a tedious effort. Lime shouldn't just be a byproduct of ranching. It should just be easily acquired from a fairly abundant natural mineral such as granite, a limestone. 

I'm also dreaming oxylite refinery becomes a real volatile ore refinery one day. A receipe for bleach stone would be like chlorine + gold; polluted dirt = polluted oxygen + gold; slime = polluted water + algae + gold. Just goldpower everything to reverse the spontaneous sublimation. :lol:

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I like the CO2 splitter idea.
Typically I vent kg/s of CO2 into space when I`m exiting the midgame.
Just dont have need for it.
Unless I have ranchers to spare, slickster are a waste of time.

However, if we can have a machine which produces O2 from CO2 then the petroleum boiler will hit a whole new level.

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This topic made me noticed some problems with Pwater, like, how does generator waste water help sytesise fertilizer, and why is carbon infused water(from carbon skimmer)turn into this. There should be difrent byproduct and diffrent ways to treat them.

But who am i to say this. this could make the game to complicated with the amount of prosesing. 

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On 9/24/2020 at 4:53 PM, ISS Proxima said:

I was thinking there should also be a power consuming process to turn granite into lime, so there's an option to avoid ranching compltely

Btw, I just found out lime can be produced from fossil in a rock crusher. But fossil is so scarce. 

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On 9/25/2020 at 11:43 PM, V Ean said:

This topic made me noticed some problems with Pwater, like, how does generator waste water help sytesise fertilizer, and why is carbon infused water(from carbon skimmer)turn into this. There should be difrent byproduct and diffrent ways to treat them.

But who am i to say this. this could make the game to complicated with the amount of prosesing. 

I noticed that too. That's why I think carbon skimmer is not the most scientific thing in this game. Technically you can't dissolve much CO2 in water at room temp and pressure. Even if you do it under pressure, it will still offgas like a bottle of just opened soda. I like soda fountain as a more "correct" and better way to delete carbon footprint than carbon skimmer, plus your dupes get +1 science bonus drinking CO2 infused water. Breathe out CO2 and drink it back, sounds pretty sustainable.

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I would believe Sulfur Chemistry to be a good idea. In current branch the fact that sulfur has no use just does not make any sense. It would be nice to add it on.

However I think the idea of Piranha Solution is a little to much for this game, there is already enough means to deposit unwanted material without complicate things that that.

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The thing i now right of the bat is that sulfur can be used for making gunpowder but for the other uses, i have to go search.

Ok, results form wiki: today, almost all elemental sulfur is produced as a byproduct of removing sulfur-containing contaminants from natural gas and petroleum. The greatest commercial use of the element is the production of sulfuric acid for sulfate and phosphate fertilizers, and other chemical processes. The element sulfur is used in matches, insecticides, and fungicides. Many sulfur compounds are odoriferous, and the smells of odorized natural gas, skunk scent, grapefruit, and garlic are due to organosulfur compounds. Hydrogen sulfide gives the characteristic odor to rotting eggs and other biological processes

One possible use is to create gunpowder which can be turned into firework to let of for morale(but morale is no longer a problem)


Also could be used for fertilizer(but then we would need an easier way to get it)



Also it could become a ingredient it a new kind of medicine for fungi infection(so new disease? though the disease system needs to be reworked )

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On 10/2/2020 at 11:50 AM, alexkuzmov said:

I mean in general :D
Like in the chemical industry, or manufactoring etc.
Real life applications.

To add to the previous post sulfur is also getting used when manufacturing rubber. Could be amybe used as an alternative to plastic.

I can also imagine sulfur getting used as fuel for a chemical plant that could create all sorts of resources.

On 9/28/2020 at 9:26 PM, ONI_Chemist said:

I think carbon skimmer is not the most scientific thing in this game. Technically you can't dissolve much CO2 in water at room temp and pressure.

I think it`s possible that it was planned that the skimmer would use lime as fuel. Lime is marked as "consumable ore" despite not being actually used by any machine and only for making steel so "industrial ingredient" would fit more. Skimmers using lime would make sense scietifically but not for the game economy.

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