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How to fix steam turbine


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tl;dr Make it require heat difference instead of pressure difference

As we all know, steam turbine is bad as electricity generator. It's more of a volcano cooling device than electricity generating one.

Here's a workable idea to make the turbine an "anti-aquatuner":

  • The turbine only works if it is cooler than the steam below it
  • The steam consumption depends on temperature difference - large difference means low consumption
  • Producing power transfers heat from steam to turbine, but doesn't delete any
  • The turbine outputs steam at own (after transfer) temperature. Cooling the turbine cools the steam output, possibly turning it to water.
  • Average pressure under turbine must exceed pressure at output. No other strict limit needed - the heat difference should be the important one here.
  • The turbine counts as temperature-isolated, to prevent tons of power being wasted due to huge passive temperature transfer
  • The turbine has liquid input and output, used only for cooling it (since it is otherwise temperature-isolated). Some of turbine temperature is transferred to liquid passing through it, but only if the liquid is actually cooler than the turbine.

The power production would have to be low enough that aquatuner wouldn't allow running the turbine as perpetum mobile. Highest temperature transfer occurs when aquatuner cools polluted water - ~40 kJ of water heat moved / 1.2 kJ of energy used = 33. As long as the turbine didn't exceed that, it wouldn't allow perpetum mobile (there will always be some loss).

This would allow the following:

  • Actually using the turbine without volcanos, door pumps, refinery tricks, hot regolith, limited magma
  • Actually using the turbine for energy generation
  • Running the turbine on waste heat from coal power plants, natgas plants, petroleum plants, kilns and other low grade sources

It would also prevent running the turbine purely for cooling, which is its current only practical usage.

On a side note, the turbine could be allowed to run on other gases too. IRL its experimental stuff, usually involving CO2 https://energy.sandia.gov/energy/renewable-energy/supercritical-co2/

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I like some elements of this, but not all. 

Moving away from pressure is good because pressure can generated by doors without the expenditure of any energy, while temperature is a more honest measure of energy content that can't be faked.

I say yes to requiring a temperature difference, but don't eliminate pressure difference either.  I think the trick is to make pressure differences simply cause a FLOW of gas through the turbine but not actually provide any power.  Power output is proportional to the heat difference (in Kelvin) x flow rate emulating a Carnot engine, and it would convert heat into power.  This needs to be designed such that electrical heaters can not create over unity powerplants.  So no temperature difference means no power regardless of flow rate.  But increasing the temperature difference or the pressure difference can both increase power production.

I would not include cooling lines through the turbine itself, that should be on the out other side of the turbine and used to create the temperature difference.  I like using other gasses too, simply allow any gas to go through the turbine is the simplest solution.

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I think the turbine should be just condensing water on it`s own. Give it an output pipe and make it drop water at 90oC. This way it`s useful if you just get a certain amount of steam. No need to manage pressure and temperature in 2 rooms. Just dumb the thing down to a steam condenser.

Or better add a condenser building that intakes cool steam and changes it into water. You could put it on the top of your turbine tower and stop caring about the steam after it passes through turbines. (condenser should overheat above 300oC so it`s not exploitable for super fast cooling).

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40 minutes ago, Sasza22 said:

I think the turbine should be just condensing water on it`s own. Give it an output pipe and make it drop water at 90oC. This way it`s useful if you just get a certain amount of steam. No need to manage pressure and temperature in 2 rooms. Just dumb the thing down to a steam condenser.

Or better add a condenser building that intakes cool steam and changes it into water. You could put it on the top of your turbine tower and stop caring about the steam after it passes through turbines. (condenser should overheat above 300oC so it`s not exploitable for super fast cooling).

+1 to that!!

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2 hours ago, Sasza22 said:

I think the turbine should be just condensing water on it`s own. Give it an output pipe and make it drop water at 90oC. This way it`s useful if you just get a certain amount of steam. No need to manage pressure and temperature in 2 rooms. Just dumb the thing down to a steam condenser.

Or better add a condenser building that intakes cool steam and changes it into water. You could put it on the top of your turbine tower and stop caring about the steam after it passes through turbines. (condenser should overheat above 300oC so it`s not exploitable for super fast cooling).

The output pipe is a step backwards IMO. The fact that the Steam Turbine forces you to build a system that interacts with the environment is one of the best things about it!

...

It should have a dripper like the Nat Gas Gen.

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Another thing that'd help tremendously with Steamed Turbines is having some sort of way to move really hot stuff. Like a Scalding Gas Pump or a Lava pump. This'd make it so you wont need a weird door setup to make it work, because lets face it. No regular player would ever figure that out.

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Honestly, as a physicist, I'm of the opinion that:

a) Pressure differential is necessary, but it should not delete mass.

b) Power output should scale by a function of temp and pressure

c) setting a minimum temp is also necessary. 

d) heat deleted should scale with output power. (ie. if I'm extracting 1kw of energy from the steam, I should be removing at least X kw worth of energy from the steam. 1kw of heat for the energy itself, and an efficiency penalty, which the laws of thermodynamics set for heat engines per the Carnot Cycle at something like 33% so that's something like 3KW of energy, provided the actual steam generators can be modeled simply by the carnot cycle.  I'd have to look up actual operating efficiency to get better numbers. 

e) Output should also scale with the # of fans open - so if 1 fan can output 1kw, then all 5 open is 5kw and, say each fan consumes 1kg/sec for that level output, then 5kg/s total. 

f) We need better mechanical support equipment that can withstand and operate in these temp ranges to make recycling steam feasible without playing door compressor games. 

 

See also my feedback post dealing with other equipment to allow finer tuning for scaling, ie. 1x1 automated vents, etc. 

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First it should be made usable, only then realism can actually be considered.

So far pressure differential only resulted in door pumps. Unless someone fixes door pumps, it should be assumed that pressure differential will only cause those.

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1 hour ago, Coolthulhu said:

First it should be made usable, only then realism can actually be considered.

So far pressure differential only resulted in door pumps. Unless someone fixes door pumps, it should be assumed that pressure differential will only cause those.

Or until they let us build pumps out of refined metal.

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13 hours ago, Coolthulhu said:

...Unless someone fixes door pumps...

door pumps aren't exploit/bug right?

the steam turbine for a casual player like me is just a complicated piece of "MEH", its so complicated yet so underwhelming. 

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21 hours ago, Yunru said:

The output pipe is a step backwards IMO. The fact that the Steam Turbine forces you to build a system that interacts with the environment is one of the best things about it!

...

It should have a dripper like the Nat Gas Gen.

Yes it`s great, even amazing design but it just takes too much effort to get going. It`s just too realisitc. It needs to be simplified; "gameyfied" so it`s actually usable for an average player. Currently you need to know the laws of physics that affect the turbine and how the game handles those laws, plus some issues, bugs and exploits that come along with that just to make the thing work. It`s too complicated. They made it too real for us to make use of it.

A gamey version of a steam turbine should input steam and output water. A dripper would actually simplify the design even more. It takes steam from below itself and drops water back. Water turns back into steam and powers the thing again. Nice and simple.

But doing that makes us lose all the amazing things we could do with the current design, so maybe  we could get a hybrid. Some of the steam condenses in the turbine and drops down as water but the rest (based on temperature) goes further. This would allow us to build a tower of turbines and the final one would condense all remaining steam dropping all the water down (one reason why i`d prefer a pipe output is more control over where the water drops but that`s less important).

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On 8/27/2018 at 4:18 PM, Yunru said:

Those clearly don't exist, what with even basic things like breathing not adding up.

 You don't say?  The point I was getting at was that the most basic implementation of thermo would be a good starting point basis seeing as ignoring them altogether is how you get lovely infinite energy, infinite heat, etc tricks.  Most folks would consider that sort of thing an exploit or buggy/crappy implementation.

 Most people, whether they can carry it further or not, have some basic understandings at least partially formed around the laws of thermodynamics, like "I can't take something out if it's not there already" and "If I take something out, what remains will be less."  The hows and whys of that less are negotiable to a greater or lesser extent, but the overall feel should conform to basic expectations, more or less..

 That, and as a general rule of thumb, starting with realistic and dialing it back is easier than starting with completely whimsical and pushing toward fun... because imagination has no limits, so there's no telling just how far away from "this could be workable" you might be.  Keep in mind, I'm also talking from a dev standpoint not a "Push to EA customers" standpoint, ie. dev sitting at his desk staring at a white board before coding anything. 

The actual implementation would also have to reflect the current theme being followed by the dev team, which definitely seems to fit "If you do A, then you'll have to deal with B as a byproduct."   Going from Steam direct to water doesn't fit that theme.  Basically, it's too direct.  Scalable output like I suggested would make it a bit harder to guarantee precisely what your output is going to be on paper before building it, but a basic idea of how things work would get you in the ballpark (fits with theme) and you'd still have to deal with the now cooler steam somehow (fits with theme.)  Similarly, the complexity does fit with the theme and the additional stuff I requested would be useful beyond just this one implementation.

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1 hour ago, storm6436 said:

That, and as a general rule of thumb, starting with realistic and dialing it back is easier than starting with completely whimsical and pushing toward fun... because imagination has no limits, so there's no telling just how far away from "this could be workable" you might be.me and the additional stuff I requested would be useful beyond just this one implementation.

Totally not true - starting with realistic often requires a load of extra work just to cram the realism into a set of unrealistic game mechanics.

In this case, realistic steam turbine is simply impossible without thermal expansion of gases, which would require a rework of the gas mechanics.

People generally greatly underestimate the massive effort required to make something realistic. If you only make it half-realistic, you generally end up with less realism than you'd get with a good abstraction or even going for pure "fun".

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6 hours ago, Coolthulhu said:

Totally not true - starting with realistic often requires a load of extra work just to cram the realism into a set of unrealistic game mechanics.

In this case, realistic steam turbine is simply impossible without thermal expansion of gases, which would require a rework of the gas mechanics.

People generally greatly underestimate the massive effort required to make something realistic. If you only make it half-realistic, you generally end up with less realism than you'd get with a good abstraction or even going for pure "fun".

Not sitting at your workstation staring at a white board it doesn't.  And seriously, I'm a physicist. I'm *well* aware of what the limitations of the game engine translate to in terms of what is and is not possible to accurately reflect.  The point I was getting at is that it's a decent starting point for design work.  Note the words: "Starting point."  That means a place to start looking at, not "Thou shalt copy this exactly and implement every last detail to exacting measure" as you seem to think it does.  Drawing logic maps on a whiteboard so you can ballpark different implementations is something you do in an afternoon,  2-3 guys sitting in a room for 2-3 hours could come up with at least 2-3 workable ideas and probably prototype their implementation into internal test copies in an afternoon, seeing as the engine already works and you're toying with one specific item.

 This isn't rocket science and they're not working at NASA and getting bogged down by a 4 tiers of management, each more afraid than the last to make any sort of meaningful decision and each insisting on a week long series of meetings to discuss the topic amongst themselves before giving a decision... and each decision countermands the one before it.
 

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11 hours ago, Coolthulhu said:

which would require a rework of the gas mechanics.

It must be done anyways, and boiling point@pressure curves too, i have 300kg/m^3 of steam and water still boiling at 100c - its just wrong.

Turbine work on gas expansion, which require pressure difference, temperature difference is just due to fact that turbine extract some heat energy and transfer it into mechanical energy, also temperature lowering because of pressure drop. The thing you suggesting is more sounds like Stirling cycle, suggest stirling generator then, or other thermoelectric generators - could be good to have them in game.

Noone force players use steam turbine, you can generate power with cheaty manual generators(which btw have lowest waste heat per watt of electricity, and dont require extra oxygen or food while dupe working on it) - it is best option, and super easy, available at beginning of the game.

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6 hours ago, D.L.S. said:

It must be done anyways, and boiling point@pressure curves too, i have 300kg/m^3 of steam and water still boiling at 100c - its just wrong.

It "must" be done because it "is just wrong"?

So you're saying that instead of adding a little and easy to implement fix to enable using a building that's in the game, Klei has to embark on a massive rework of fluid physics to bring lava lamp physics somewhat closer to real life physics, in a way that may actually not be at all possible (due to lava lamp physics being inherently non-physical), just because it's "wrong"?

7 hours ago, D.L.S. said:

cheaty manual generators

"Cheaty"? How is using an item that is in the game and working as intended "cheating"?

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4 minutes ago, Coolthulhu said:

It "must" be done because it "is just wrong"?

So you're saying that instead of adding a little and easy to implement fix to enable using a building that's in the game, Klei has to embark on a massive rework of fluid physics to bring lava lamp physics somewhat closer to real life physics, in a way that may actually not be at all possible (due to lava lamp physics being inherently non-physical), just because it's "wrong"?

This feature will allow making a lot of useful things, right now we cant even build refrigerator, nor any heat pump. Collect waste heat and multiply it by effect that liquids boils at different temperature at different pressure and use this heat to boil water for  turbine - we cant do this now. Right now only 2 options how to overheat steam for steam turbine: magma, and build huge heat exchanger at surface where hot regolith collecting, other options gives not enough temperature, you can boil water with aquatuner, i did so, but cant overheat steam to >226c. Without good heat pump difficult to condense large amount of water, without condensing steam after turbine you have your problems with gaining pressure difference.

And rework gas mechanics means expand them.

 

Manual generators cheaty(imbalanced, OP, choose your word) because: its 1 tire of technology, built from simple available resources but emit low waste heat, not emitting wastes like co2 or poluted hot water, no need getting/making/refining fuel no need any extra system to control it, and have only 2 times less power then natural gas generator, all you need for manual generator is battery pack, preferably smart battery because of low leakage. Compare it to other generators in game and say which one is most simple yet effective. They would remind cheaty until devs made that dupes consume way more food/oxygen when working hard, then would be at least small balance since at some cases food cost more then fuels, but even then would be probably more profitable spin wheel then mining coal(at lest least stressful).

 

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5 minutes ago, Yunru said:

And a dupe. One of the biggest resource investments in the game.

Well yes, but in other case this dupe will mine coal, or add coal to coal power plant, or build huge self sustained and automatized natural gas power plant, you know other generators also require manual work.

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8 hours ago, D.L.S. said:

Well yes, but in other case this dupe will mine coal, or add coal to coal power plant, or build huge self sustained and automatized natural gas power plant, you know other generators also require manual work.

No, they don't (with maybe the exception of coal), the require manual setup. Once it's done, the dupe is free to do other things. The manual generator requires constant dupe time as long as it's running.

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