Polyethylene Processing

From GT New Horizons

Polyethylene is a versatile material, used in electronic circuits, battery hulls and multi-block parts. Access to Polyethylene is needed for progression in MV, though the line can be semi-automated as early as LV. Overall power demand for this line is low, between 24 and 30 EU per machine, not all of which will run concurrently. Average consumption for the whole line is ~100EU/t. Molten Polyethylene can be used directly in Assemblers or turned into sheets/ingots with a Fluid Solidifier. Full automation requires a renewable source of Hydrogen and Oxygen, such as Water Electrolysis, and a method of dealing with the byproduct Carbon and Hydrogen Sulfide. Oxygen can also come from using the Steam Squasher to get Air Cells and centrifuge them for Oxygen and byproduct Nitrogen (probably the best source of Oxygen at LV but does not give Hydrogen) or electrolyzing sugar at MV+ (the best source at MV+).

Materials List

  • Basic Distillery x2
  • Basic Chemical Reactor x3
  • GT Tank (any tier) x1
  • Item Transport, such as item pipes, hoppers or item conduit.
  • Fluid tank or input line for Oil
  • Fluid tank or input line for Steam
  • Destination tank or fluid storage for Polyethylene


  • Oil
  • Hydrogen Cells
  • Oxygen Cells


  • Molten Polyethylene
  • Hydrogen Sulfide Cells
  • Tiny Pile of Carbon Dust


Basic Distillery GUI with a arrow button outlined in green. The text says "Fluid Auto Output".

The five main machines can be placed in a line - Distillery (Circuit 2), Chemical Reactor (Circuit 4), Chemical Reactor (Circuit 3), Distillery (Circuit 10), Chemical Reactor (Circuit 1).

Each should have their output face oriented towards the next machine in the line, and "Fluid Auto Output" should be enabled on all. Oil feeds the first Distillery. An item logistics solution should be used to keep Hydrogen, Oxygen and Steam Cells stocked in the appropriate machines, while removing byproducts and Empty Cells. Any GT Tank connected to a steam supply can refill cells for the Chemical Reactor doing steam cracking.


Oil can be delivered to the Distillery via a Fluid Pipe, or direct auto-output from a compatible Fluid Tank. If piped, use an Electric Pump as a Cover, set to import fluids to the pipe. Cover settings are always relative to the block they are attached to, and the goal is to bring oil into the pipe. Fluid Conduit can also be used to supply the Distillery and even the basic version will keep up with its needs.

Hoppers can be used to funnel Hydrogen and Oxygen Cells into their respective machines from the top or back, while a second line of hoppers below will remove byproducts. The throughput is low enough for hoppers to keep up easily with the production line. Item Pipes with Conveyors are preferred for cycling the Steam Cells between the GT Tank and Chemical Reactor C.3, as they have to loop. Power can be run along the bottom or back of the machines in this configuration.

Item Conduits or other Logistics solutions can compact the design, allowing both input and output of items from the same face. Separate color channels should be used for each direction, and adjacent conduits disconnected using a wrench. Item Conduits require Pulsating Iron and Polyethylene, so at earliest they can be made late LV, after some manual processing and getting the Electric Blast Furnace running.

Polyethylene Processing Steps

Machine Tier EU Duration Circuit Processes
Distillery LV 480 1 sec #2 25L Oil -> 25L Sulfuric Light Fuel
Chemical Reactor LV 480 1 sec #4 12,000L Sulfuric Light Fuel & 2x Hydrogen Cells -> 1 Hydrogen Sulfide Cell, 1 Empty Cell, 12,000L Light Fuel
GT Tank Any 0 ~0.1 sec n/a Steam + Empty Cell -> Steam Cell. Feed to next Chemical Reactor.
Chemical Reactor LV 9,600 16 sec #3 1,000L Light Fuel & 1x Steam Cell -> 1x Empty Cell & 800L Severely Steam-Cracked Light Fuel. Cycle Empty Cells back to GT Tank.
Distillery LV 7,200 12 sec #10 1000L Severely Steam-Cracked Light Fuel -> 300L Ethylene & 3x Tiny Pile of Carbon Dust
Chemical Reactor LV 4,800 8 sec #1 144L Ethylene & 1x Oxygen Cell -> 1x Empty Cell & 216L Molten Polyethylene.
A labelled line of five machines connected to tanks and drawers by pipes and Ender IO Item Conduits. Steam enters from a grey pipe into a GT Tank, center top. There are raw inputs for oil on the left, hydrogen and oxygen cells, middle, and outputs for polyethylene, right, carbon and empty cells, middle. The distillation steps are marked from oil to sulfuric light fuel, light fuel, severely steam cracked light fuel, ethylene, and finally polyethylene.
Polyethylene Processing Line

Non-Oil Alternative #1

If you don't want to process oil, there are a few alternative recipes, which may be especially attractive if you are using benzene.

Oak bonsais or any other oak tree farm will produce apples and saplings as a byproduct.

Apples can be processed in a Forestry squeezer for Fruit Juice and Mulch.

Fruit Juice, Mulch, and Saplings can be processed in a Forestry squeezer for Biomass.

There are also Gregtech recipes for Biomass but they tend to consume more power, resources, and time.

Biomass can then be turned into Ethanol in an LV Distillery (Later this can be upgraded to a distillation tower).

Finally, the Ethanol can be turned into Ethylene in an MV Dehydrator (no additional inputs but very slow so you will definitely want to passive this), OR by combining it with Sulfuric Acid in a chemical reactor.

Machines needed:

  • Automatic Oak Tree Farm, eg LV Crop Manager + Oak Bonsais
  • Forestry Squeezer
  • Forestry Fermenter
  • LV Distillery
  • MV Dehydrator / Chemical Reactor
  • Chemical Reactor (for combining Ethylene with Oxygen)


  • Oxygen

Extra Outputs:

  • Mulch (you will probably want to send overflow to a Trash Can)

Non-Oil Alternative #2

By utilizing a pyrolyse oven, you are able to easily produce polyethlyene through the extraction of wood gas.

Wood input into the pyrolyse oven with to produce charcoal and wood gas.

The ethlyene can then be processed into polyethylene using either air or oxygen.

Machines needed:

  • Chemical Reactor (LV)
  • Pyrolyse Oven
  • Distillery (LV)
  • Compressor (LV) (For compressing air, unneeded if using oxygen)


  • Wood

Extra Outputs:

  • Charcoal (Which you'll probably want to use to create benzene)

Example Setup:

A simple setup requiring wood gas as the only input