Chemfuel powered generator

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Chemfuel powered generator

Chemfuel powered generator

Produces power by consuming chemfuel. Must be periodically refueled by hand.

Base Stats

Market Value
295 Silver [Note]
Path Cost


2 ˣ 2
pass through only
Cover Effectiveness
Blocks Wind
Terrain Affordance
1000 W
Light Radius
Heat Per Second


Required Research
Skill Required
Construction 6
Work To Make
2,500 ticks (41.67 secs)
Resources to make
Steel 100 + Component 3
Deconstruct yield
Steel 50 + Component 1 - 2
Destroy yield
Steel 25 + Component 0 - 1

The chemfuel powered generator produces power from chemfuel. The generator is an exact analog to the wood-fired generator, only the type of fuel is different.


Chemfuel powered generators can be constructed once the Electricity research project has been completed. They require Steel 100 Steel, Component 3 Component, 2,500 ticks (41.67 secs) of work, and a Construction skill of 6.

Once constructed, a chemfuel generator cannot be moved, it can only be deconstructed.


The chemfuel powered generator consumes Chemfuel 4.5 chemfuel per day and generates a constant 1000W as long as it is switched on and fueled. It can hold up to 30 fuel at a time, for a maximum run time of 6.66 days. Fuel consumption is not dependent on how much power is actually drawn. Fuel has to be delivered to the generator by a hauler colonists. It can be switched off; in the off state it will neither consume fuel nor produce power.

Light & heat

It outputs light in a 6 tile radius, with the nearest 3.485 tiles being above 50% light level and considered lit. Note that the light source is centered at the bottom-left tile of the generator, rather than the "true" center of the generator.

It heats at a rate of 6 heat per second[Exact mechanic unclear]. Unlike many other heat sources, it does not appear to have a maximum temperature and will continue to heat up rooms indefinitely.[Confirmation needed].


If it is damaged below one third of its hitpoints, or 100 HP, it has a chance[What chance?] to explode. The generator will spark and emit a hissing sound shortly before exploding between 70 ticks (1.17 secs) and 150 ticks (2.5 secs) later. The explosion deals 10 Flame damage in a radius around itself that depends on the quantity of fuel in the generator. At 0 fuel, the explosion has a radius of 0 and only destroys the generator, and expanding this radius proportional to the square root of the fuel times 0.95 up to a maximum radius of 5.34 tiles when fully fueled. This explosion leaves Chemfuel puddles which will then ignite and burn.


Chemfuel generators are compact, can be placed anywhere, and offer a consistent source of power, making it one of the easiest generators to use. Most other power sources scale much worse; due to their scarcity or space constraints, using large quantities will quickly become difficult.

However, generators require maintenance, both to create the chemfuel and to actually refuel the generator. The exact amount of work depends on which source of chemfuel is used - infinite chemreactors are very limited, but require no work to create. Many colonies will have to research Biofuel Refining to actually make some.

In general, any source of chemfuel is less work than what a wood-fired generator would take. The workload is reasonably low, so using chemfuel does not bring excessive burden to a colony.

Fuel economy

Using wood for fuel

With a biofuel refinery, chemfuel generators consume Wood 9 wood of chemfuel per day, less than a wood-fired generator's Wood 22 per day. Both generators produce the same amount of power. Converting wood to chemfuel takes work, but harvesting wild trees takes longer when considering the time to walk and haul. When cultivating your own plants, using corn takes much less work than growing trees. Note that the refinery itself requires 170 W of power, but you only need 1 refinery for many generators. In specific:

  • Converting wood to chemfuel takes 2,000 ticks (33.33 secs) of work for 7.78 days of fuel, or 257 ticks (4.28 secs) for 1 day of fuel.
  • Just harvesting the wood depends on biome, growth of the tree, and Plants skill.
    • With a skill of 8, it takes a ballpark of 260 ticks (4.33 secs) of work to harvest Wood 9 wood, for a fully grown, non-cactus tree.
    • For reference, it takes a ballpark of 660 ticks (11 secs) of work to harvest Wood 22 wood.
  • When considering tree cutting, note that you will need to go further and further to cut more trees.

Sowing a single tree takes 4,000 ticks (1.11 mins) of work, which makes them much less efficient than any food crop. FibercornContent added by the Ideology DLC is less efficient than regular corn, too.

Using boomalopes for fuel

A boomalope produces, at most, Chemfuel11 chemfuel per day. This takes 400 ticks (6.67 secs) of work before modifiers. This is enough to fuel ~2.44 generators, which in practice means 2 generators per day.

In theory, a herd of 9 boomalope can fuel 22 generators indefinitely. However, milking is not an instant process, so it is difficult to reach an optimal amount.

Using the Infinite Chemreactor

The Infinite chemreactor is a world quest item that generates Chemfuel75 chemfuel every ten days (effectively Chemfuel7.5 chemfuel per day) at a cost of 300 watts and no work. This is more than enough to power a single chemfuel powered generator, providing a net +700 watts of power, while leaving Chemfuel30 chemfuel after a 10 day cycle (an average of 3 excess/day). 3 infinite chemreactors are exactly enough to power 5 chemfuel generators, providing an excess of 4,100 watts of power (5,000w -900w).

Assuming a small buffer of chemfuel to start, this is easily attainable, because the supply side is reliable, and refueling can be done well in advance.

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 ~0.61 raw nutrition per day (growing rice, and assuming a perfect grow operation). This converts into ~6.1 chemfuel per day at a biofuel refinery. Therefore, the produce from a single basin fuels about 1.3 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) per dedicated hydroponics basin. 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).

With adequate batteries to handle the day-night cycle of sun lamps, 3.1 generators are needed to power a full hydroponics setup, which will require ~14.1 chemfuel per day, or about 2.3 hydroponics basins dedicated to producing rice to turn into chemfuel. This means that with 4 generators, you can grow plants in 21 of the 24 hydroponics basins for free, with an average of 870W of power spare. Note that this assumes 100% harvest efficiency - as harvest efficiency decreases at higher difficulties, the number of basins that must be dedicated to chemfuel production will increase in direct proportion.

Corn can also be grown to feed chemfuel generators, with 8.6 tiles of corn plant in 100% fertility soil needed for each generator.

Version history

  • Beta 18 - Added.
  • 1.1.0 - Refueling is now toggleable.