Chemfuel powered generator
Chemfuel powered generator
The chemfuel powered generator produces power from chemfuel. The generator outputs a constant 1000 W, burning 4.5 chemfuel per day (no matter how much power is actually drawn). Fuel has to be delivered to the generator by a colonist. The generator is an exact analog to the wood-fired generator, only the type of fuel is different. Generators are a low-level light source, and also produce heat.
Fuel and energy economy
A chemfuel powered generator holds 30 chemfuel, consuming 4.5 chemfuel per day. A completely fueled-up generator will run for 6 days and 16 hours without refueling. For comparison, the wood-fired generator uses 22 wood per day.
Using boomalopes for fuel
A boomalope produces at most 6 chemfuel per day. It is feasible to run 4 generators indefinitely from a herd of 3 boomalopes (one boomalope can fuel ~1.3 generators). In practice this is not entirely attainable, because milking the animals and refueling the generators will not be a seamless process.
Growing plants for fuel
Chemfuel generators together with hydroponics greenhouses and biofuel refineries produce a significant net energy profit, if the colonist workforce is available to run the setup. The (simplified) conversion chain is
Power (for greenhouse) → food (for refinery) → chemfuel (for generator) → power
A lot of excess power is generated at the end of the chain.
A single hydroponics basin can produce ~0.7 raw nutrition per day (growing rice, and assuming a perfect grow operation). This converts into ~7 chemfuel per day at a biofuel refinery. Therefore, the produce from a single basin fuels about 1.5 chemfuel generators. This is not attainable in practice, but will serve as a guideline. Theoretically, a single hydroponics basin lit by a sun lamp (in a group of 24 basins) uses 130W of power on average, including the sun lamp (190W if you assume day-time power draw). This results in a theoretical net gain in energy of about 870W (810W during the day). However, the power draw of the refinery is not taken into account (it can be micro-managed if chemfuel is produced in batches, and will not play a big role in the overall economy).
4.6 generators are needed to power a full hydroponics setup, which will require ~21 chemfuel per day, or about 3 hydroponics basins. This means that with 5 generators you can grow plants in ~20 hydroponics basins for free, with about 400W of power to spare during the day (3,300W during the night).
It is also possible to use boomalopes to convert the food into chemfuel, instead of refineries. This is only efficient if the food is fed to the animals as nutrient paste meals. This will yield ~2.1 nutrition per day, per hydroponics basin, enough to feed 2 animals, producing 12 chemfuel per day, fueling ~2.6 generators. A herd of 4 animals will therefore comfortably fuel the entire setup, indefinitely, and a biofuel refinery will not be required. A full 22 hydroponics basins will be available to grow plants for free in the colony with such a setup. However, it will be necessary to micro-manage the food-production at the nutrient paste dispenser; purists will consider this an exploit of game mechanics.
Using batteries to catch the night-time excess power, the setup described will cover the food and energy needs of a medium-sized colony entirely (without having to resort to any other power sources).
Chemfuel powered generators can be constructed after you have completed research into Electricity.
Chemfuel powered generators were added in Beta 18.