Power Generation

From GT New Horizons


Power Generation is a core concept of the modpack, necessary at every tier beyond the Stone Age. There are many different options, available and useful at varying points of progression. So many options are available that it may be confusing to new players. This page lists many of the most viable power generation options, what tiers they are available and useful at, and how to use them.

Steam

Steam is the first power source you have access to, and is the fuel for the first Bronze and Steel machines. Upon reaching LV, it is also the starter fuel for generating EU, but it falls off in the next two tiers due to how difficult it becomes to transport a lot of Steam around to match the EU/t demands of your upgraded machines, especially your Electric Blast Furnace.

Production: Steam is produced in boilers, of various types. All boilers require 1L of water per 160L of steam produced. If a boiler runs out of water, and is then fed more water while it is still hot, it will explode, so make sure you've got enough water production for your boilers! 2L of steam makes 1 EU, multiplied by the efficiency loss of the steam turbine.

The first set of boilers available are the Small Boilers. All of these are available in the Bronze age, and are the backbone of your first machines. Included in this lineup are the Small Coal Boiler, the High Pressure Coal Boiler, the Simple Solar Boiler, High Pressure Solar Boiler and the High Pressure Lava Boiler.

  • The Small Coal Boiler is the first boiler available, consuming coal or charcoal, and is not really viable for power production, giving a measly 120 L/s of steam, or 3 EU/t of power, or even less with efficiency losses from turbines if converting into Electricity.
  • The High Pressure Coal Boiler produces 300 L/s of steam, a much better number, but still only equivalent to 7.5 EU/t. Like the Small Coal Boilers, these run off coal or charcoal.
  • The Simple Solar Boiler produces the same amount of steam as a Small Coal Boiler, but runs off sunlight. It slowly calcifies over time, requiring it to be broken and replaced to be restored to its full 120 L/s production. To prevent calcification Distilled Water can be used instead of normal water, which only economical if being produced in a Distillery Tower at HV.
  • The High Pressure Solar Boiler is an upgraded version of the Simple Solar, producing 360L/s at full power. It calcifies in the same way, but will never go below 120L/s. It can be restored to full capacity by breaking and replacing when it starts to lose production.
  • The High Pressure Lava Boiler produces 600 L/s of steam, or 15 EU/t, and run off lava. These require a constant source of lava, which is generally not something available at LV, so these are not recommended for use in constant power generation. They have a multiblock upgrade in EV tier, the Large Heat Exchanger, which proves a lot more useful.

GT++ adds Advanced Boilers, which are single block machines available in 3 tiers, from LV to HV. These produce 750L/s, 1500 L/s, and 2250L/s for each tier. They are fairly expensive to make, but are extremely fuel efficient, fit for specific applications such as powering a farm or other small automations. For setups that are running all the time, they quickly become expensive in terms of materials.

Next are the Railcraft Boilers, available during Steam Age. These are multiblock boilers, with a 1x1, 2x2, or 3x3 base and up to 5 blocks tall. These consist of a single base layer of Boiler Fireboxes, over which between 1 and 4 layers of boiler tanks are placed, depending on the size (look on the tooltip for a list of viable sizes). The boiler fireboxes determine what fuel is used- Solid Fueled Fireboxes can run on anything that is capable of burning in a furnace, with Charcoal as the most popular option, while Liquid Fueled Fireboxes run off certain flammable liquids (Creosote Oil, Lava and Oil, though of these the only one you'll want to use is probably Creosote). The boiler tanks determine Steam production, warm up time, and fuel consumption- low pressure Boilers warm up faster (although still very slow relative to other boilers) and make 10 L/t of steam per boiler tank present(Note that this is per tick, not per second unlike the GT boilers- multiply this by 20 to get per second), while high pressure Boilers are more expensive, use twice the fuel, warm up much slower, but make 40L/t of steam per boiler tank. Both types of fireboxes are viable, and it's generally best to run a combination of both to fully utilize a coke oven. These can produce anywhere from a tiny 10L/t of steam, or 5 EU/t, up to 360L/t for a max size low pressure or 1440L/t for a max size high pressure (180 or 720 EU/t, respectively). The fuel consumption uses a complicated formula; more details here.

Finally, there are the multiblock Large Boilers from GregTech. The first one, the Large Bronze Boiler, is available at late LV (as soon as you have MV circuits), with an upgrade in the following tier, the Large Steel Boiler. These run off (extremely large quantities of) any furnace fuel or flammable liquid. Running these off liquids is not really viable- Railcraft boilers run off creosote more efficiently, while most any other flammable liquid is better in a generator of some kind. These produce enormous amounts of Steam, 16000L/s (400 EU/t) for a Bronze and 1000 EU/t for a Steel Boiler. They also consume extremely large quantities of fuel, so it's important to automate the inputs from the start. They're extremely good for consuming solid fuel, but Railcraft Boilers are more efficient for using Creosote.

Obtaining Fuel: Boilers require fuel to run, the two most common being Charcoal and Creosote Oil. These fuels can be obtained from 3 main sources - the Railcraft Coke Oven, which is cheap and obtainable early but very slow, the Advanced Coke Oven which is much faster (90x the speed of the Coke Oven), but more expensive and with no Creosote output, and the Pyrolyse Oven, which is the most Expensive but produces Charcoal and one of several fluids very quickly. Coal Ore, too can be processed in a Sifter to get large amounts of Coal to produce Steam which, and it is actually renewable from some sources, such as Withereed.

In later tiers, large quantities of Steam or, more specifically, Superheated Steam can be produced by the use a Large Heat Exchanger fed by lava, which is able be produced infinitely in several ways, the most popular being Everburn Urns from Thaumcraft. Another way to get Superheated Steam is through the Large Titanium Boiler and Large Tungstensteel Boiler, which are built similarly to their earlier counterparts, but run only with specific fuels, mainly the Solid Super Fuels, at a much faster rate.

Used in: Steam Turbines. Remember that each steam turbine has an efficiency percentage, which will affect the EU/t values listed above.

Oil

Oil is the most common fuel used LV-HV. It's available mid-LV, and is viable until LuV for power generation and useful for other resources far beyond that. Oil itself is not recommended to be used as a fuel, instead it must be refined. The four main fuels obtained from oil, in order of complexity, are light fuel, diesel, cetane-boosted diesel, and high-octane gasoline. Each one is more oil-efficient, complex, and a higher tier than the last. Oil can also be distilled into various useful chemicals- ethylene for polyethylene, a plastic, toluene for explosives, etc. , but this guide is focusing on energy production.

Production: Oil is pumped out of the ground through either pumps on physical oil wells, or oil drilling rigs on bedrock. It is then refined through a process of distillation and refining into four "base" fuels. From there, these base fuels can be cracked, distilled, refined, and mixed into various more complex hydrocarbons or burned directly.

Pumping: There are physical geysers of oil that spawn on the surface. A pump placed on top of these will bring up the oil, which sits in an underground reservoir, when it is fed power and mining pipes. Oil drilling rigs, first available in MV, extract oil from hidden reservoirs under the bedrock, which can be found using prospector's scanners or a seismic prospector.

Distillation and refining: Oil can then be distilled into four primary distillates, in various fractions based on what type of oil it is. A distillery lets you pick one of the four fractions, while a distillation tower creates all four at once. Once the oil has been turned into a fraction, the fraction must be de-sulfurized by mixing it with hydrogen(can be easily obtained by electrolyzing water) in a chemical reactor. The four fractions are light fuel, heavy fuel, naphtha, and refinery gas. Until you obtain a distillation tower, the only two you need to worry about for power generation are light fuel and heavy fuel.

Tiers of Fuel:

  • Light fuel is available at LV as a direct product of oil desulfurization.
  • Diesel is available at MV from mixing light fuel and heavy fuel in a 5:1 ratio.
  • CBD (cetane boosted diesel) is available at HV from mixing diesel with tetranitromethane (made using nitric acid and ethenone in a chemical reactor).
  • HOG (high-octane gasoline) is available at HV in a large chemical reactor with EV power from an extremely complex set of recipes (regular gasoline can be made at HV but isn't worth using). It is not a direct upgrade from CBD, rather it gets it's own processing chain.

Each tier is more complex than the last, but more oil-efficient. Light fuel is still a viable source of power even at EV, but at that point making cetane-boosted diesel will triple your power output per cell. Once you obtain a distillation tower, the naphtha and refinery gas can be steam-cracked or hydro-cracked to obtain more light fuel or heavy fuel, or made into various chemicals for use in other applications.

CBD can be used until LuV, but a significant amount of large combustion engines need to be built to use CBD beyond IV. Note that only HOG can be burned in the ECE (extreme combustion engine, the IV multiblock combustion generator that produces 1A of LuV when boosted), which allows oil to be used until late LuV/early ZPM.

Used in: Combustion Generators

Bio Diesel

Bio diesel is a renewable combustion generator fuel made primarily from plants. It has three ingredients and, like regular diesel, can be cetane-boosted for better efficiency. It can be made in LV, but most methods of farming it in decent quantities require MV.

Production: Bio diesel is made out of seed oil or fish oil, ethanol or methanol, and sodium hydroxide.

Seed oil can be obtained from most plants, but the best candidates are peanuts or sesame seeds from Pam's Harvestcraft, or hazelnuts from Extra Trees(Forestry addon). The best ways to farm these are generally the Forestry multifarm or the Ender IO Farming Station. To obtain seed oil, place these in a fluid extractor. Fish oil can be obtained from fish, which can be obtained in bulk from GT++ Fish Catchers or the GT++ Fishing Port multiblock.

Ethanol can be made from distilling forestry biomass (more efficient) or fermented biomass. These can be obtained by compressing plants into plantballs, making that into bio chaff, and putting the bio chaff into either a brewing machine, fluid canning machine, or pyrolyse oven (in order of efficiency) and fermenting, or by putting the bio chaff into a chemical bath to make mulch, and putting that into a brewing machine or pyrolyse oven. Methanol can be made from carbon monoxide or carbon monoxide plus hydrogen in a chemical reactor, or distilled from fermented biomass. It's less efficient than ethanol to make from biomass, but can be made from chemicals.

Sodium hydroxide can be made by distilling salt water, or by mixing sodium and water in a chemical reactor. It's the hardest to make renewable, since you need sodium or salt, but you only need small quantities of it (one dust can make 54 cells of bio diesel)

These 3 ingredients are then mixed together in a chemical reactor. From there, it can be burned directly or, once HV is reached, mixed with tetranitromethane(nitric acid and ethenone in a chemical reactor) to get cetane-boosted diesel.

Used in: Combustion Generators

Benzene

Benzene is another renewable fuel, made from charcoal and wood tar in a pyrolyse oven and later in a ICO (Industrial Coke Oven). It is fairly simple to make, but requires several fluid extractors to run at max speed. It is first available at MV, requiring an MV distillery to obtain it from Wood Tar, and it gets significantly stronger in EV when ICO and multiblock turbines become available. Benzene is viable until LuV+ (you can even use it all the way to UHV if you spam enough XL turbines, but with regular turbines you should plan to switch to fusion as soon as possible).

Warning: XL Gas turbine no longer accepts benzene in the latest stables (2.4.0+). The latest version that is confirmed not to contain this change is 2.3.3.

The first step is creating Wood Tar and Charcoal from wood. Using nitrogen recipe is highly suggested. Then send all the outgoing Charcoal to Fluid Extractors to be made into more Wood Tar, then send all of that into an MV Distillery to be made into Benzene. After having reached HV, the Distillery can be replaced with a Distillation Tower, which outputs Toluene, Phenol, Dimethylbenzene and Creosote alongside the Benzene. The first two are good fuels as well, alongside being useful for other chemistry.

Nitrobenzene is a upgrade from benzene and can be produced in a gt++ chemical plant (there is a recipe in the large chemical reactor but it should not be used if nitrobenzene is for powergen). In comparison to benzene it can be used in XL Gas turbines, making it a direct upgrade to benzene power when moving from regualr gas turbines to XLGTs in IV. Currently (up to 2.6.0), the nitrobenzene is by far the strongest power source in the IV-ZPM ages.

Used in: Gas turbines

Solar Panels

Solar panels are available in tiers from 1 EU/t all the way up to UV (524288 EU/t). Creating a solar panel of a given tier requires you to be 2 tiers higher than the panel (i.e. to make a LV panel you need to be HV). Solars are a viable power source from MV up to UV, but are never a main power source due to the tier requirement, however they can nicely help your regular power gen, especially in operations that need to be running all the time or far away from your main power source.

Production: Solars up to ULV are crafted in the regular crafting grid, then in the Avaritia Dire Crafting Table. Panels are quite expensive to make up for not needing fuel.

Usage: Solar panels can be placed as a cover on a GT machine, battery buffer, machine hull or even cable, or crafted into a standalone solar panel block. Cover-type solars need periodic cleaning by right-clicking with empty hand while having a bucket of water in your inventory (can be done by golems), or their output will decrease. Solar panel blocks lack this disadvantage, also you don't need to protect them from rain.

Thaumcraft offers an option to make compressed solar panels. These take 8 panels of the previous tier to produce 10 times more power, so even if recipes become exponentially more expensive there's a bit of advantage. Octuple compressed solar panels can produce 100,000,000 EU/t, which is almost 200 times more than a UV solar panel. Moreover, there are infused versions of compressed solars which produce even more power under certain conditions. For example, octuple aqua infused solar can produce up to 600,000,000 EU/t while in thunderstorm. These also have the added bonus of being very TPS efficient, which is very important late game.

Starting from triple onwards, it will require infusion. Read the Infusion automation guide for help on automating these solars. The maximum tier is 8 (Octuple), and requires 16777216 1 volt solars. This spreadsheet lists all items needed to create an UV Solar Panel and an Octuple Compressed Solar.

Magic generators

Similar to Solar Panels are the Magic Energy absorbers, which can generate power from LV to EV passively, using energized nodes or a dragon egg placed on top of it. It is fairly expensive compared to non-passive EV generators, but considerably cheaper than EV solars, so it can be a good solution for powering multiblock miners, farms, etc in the midgame.

Magic energy converters consume various resources, and make up to one HV ampere. They can power farms that produce those very resources, for example 4 master magic energy converters can supply 1 amp of EV power to an EEC that makes forbidden magic shards among other things.

Large Essentia Generator is a magical multiblock that consumes different essentias to produce EU. This is a WIP and a subject to change, though if you have decent progress in Thaumcraft, it can be a viable power source up to UV.

Nuclear Reactors

They're available starting in EV, and are pretty good. See the Nuclear Reactors page for details.

Large Heat Exchanger / WWXL / Extreme Heat Exchanger

These multiblocks all produce steam by consuming some kind of hot liquid. They typically work as a middle step between nuclear or fusion reactors and steam turbines to produce even more power at the cost of more processing steps. All heat exchangers blow up if not properly supplied with water or distilled water.

  • Large Heat Exchanger consumes hot coolant, lava or solar salt (hot) to convert distilled water into steam or superheated steam. It also returns the cold version of respective coolant. For example, lava is converted into pahoehoe lava which can be centrifuged for some basic resources: copper, tin, silver, aluminium, phosphorus, titanium and tungsten (though not very much and requires quite a bit of power).
  • Whakawhiti Wera XL acts like 16 Large Heat Exchangers in one, and can only process lava and hot coolant
  • Extreme Heat Exchanger can either act like basically 10 Large Heat Exchangers, but its main purpose is to create supercritical steam from plasma. It will only generate supercritical steam from plasma, not lava or hot coolant, and it is the only source of supercritical steam.
  • Thermal Boiler can consume lava, pahoehoe lava or solar salt (hot) and makes either superheated or regular steam. It isn't known for high throughput rate but is quite cheap and can return small amounts of rare materials from lavas without centrifuging, among them: gold, silver, tantalum and tungstate.

Large Steam Turbines consume steam and return distilled water, Large HP Steam Turbines consume superheated steam and return steam, and Large SC Steam Turbines consume supercritical steam and also return steam.

Hot coolant basically comes from nukes (it can also come from Deep Earth Heating Pumps, Bees, and a few other sources, but these are all hilariously unviable).

Lava can be made from some bees or by pumping the nether, but in the quantities you need it, Everburn Urns or the Blood Magic Serenade of the Nether are preferred.

Plasma comes mainly from fusion reactors (there are some exceptions like Hydrogen Plasma from the Cyclotron but these are not really relevant for power gen).

Finally the solar salt (hot) comes from the Solar Tower. Its not a mainstream power source due to its high price in materials and relative setup complexity.

Kinetic Wind and Water Generators

Main Article: Kinetic_Generators

Kinetic Wind and Water Generators from IC2 open up after the moon. They need Titanium and Platinum cables (and tons of other resources). You also need a Kinetic Gearbox Rotor. Here, many options are available from IC2 and GT++. Their main differences lie in cost, durability and the power output. The Iridium rotor from GT++ has the highest output and is also unbreakable, you will never have to replace it.

These generators don't produce EU directly, they generate KU, which needs to be fed into a Kinetic Generator. If you put in a rotor, you will see it appear on the side with the black dot, the Kinetic Generator goes onto the opposite side (black ring with silver dot). The Kinetic Generator itself is sided too, its side with the black dot needs to face the Wind or Water Generator. It will generate 1 EU/t for every 4 KU input. You can pull the power out using GT cables, but only 1A per side. With better rotors, a Kinetic Generator can produce more than 1A of its tier, so you have to pull power from more than one side to not waste anything. It is safe to connect cables of the generators tier, even when it produces more energy. The best height for Wind generators is at y-level 160, but you can use the Windmeter to check it yourself. Rotors can't overlap with other Kinetic Generators. Obviously, water turbines need to have submerged rotors and they only work in Ocean and River biomes. More information can be found on the IC2-wiki at https://wiki.industrial-craft.net/index.php?title=Kinetic_Wind_Generator and https://wiki.industrial-craft.net/index.php?title=Kinetic_Water_Generator.

Be careful, while IC2 machines don't mind the rain, your GT battery buffers and transformers will, so remember to build a roof above them.

The Kinetic Generators from IC2 output HV. There are upgraded versions available from the Compact Kinetic Wind and Water Generators mod. So the Low generators are EV, Medium IV, High LuV and Extreme ZPM.

Enriched Naquadah/Naquadria Reactors

Singleblock naquadah reactors produce large amounts of power at a constant eu/t, as stated on the machine's tooltip. These drain power depending by depleting tiberium/enriched naquadah/naquadria screw/rods/long rods into normal naquadah screws/rods/long rods, converting it into an internal buffer that is drained at a constant eu/t. The efficiency of the machine multiplies the EU potential of the rod, giving the true energy per item. They are best for remote mining drills and should not be used as a main source of power.

Multiblock naquadah reactor, while also being called naquadah reactor, is completely different from singleblock ones. They consume nuclear based fuels for breeding and naquadah based fuels for power generation. There are five tiers of naquadah fuel, with the MK1 and MK2 fuels made in fusion reactor and chemical reactor and available in UV. Naquadah fuels starting from MK3 are made in the naquadah fuel refinery, a multiblock available in UHV. Naquadah reactor also consumes liquid air and accepts coolants and excited liquids to boost output. Coolants boost efficiency (extra power output without extra fuel) and available ones are IC2 coolant: 105% efficiency, super coolant: 150% efficiency, Cryotheum: 275%. In practice, cryotheum should be used. Excited liquids boost fuel consumption (and provide extra power output) and available ones are molten caesium: 2x, molten U-235: 3x, molten naquadah: 4x, molten atomic separation catalyst: 16x.

Naquadah reactors are considered to be weaker than plasmas turbines, but this might change with future rebalances.

Fusion and Plasma

Fusion is unlocked in late LuV, opening the gate to ZPM and also to very powerful power generation. The Fusion Reactor is needed to create some new materials, but the plasma itself can give out a lot of EU if processed in the right machines. Not all the outputs of the reactor are plasmas, but the ones that are can all be used to generate power. Fusion reactors have unique 2/2 overclocks per tier.

The reactor itself needs a large, initial EU input to start working, and then needs additional energy while it processes the inputs into the outputs. If it ever stops, it will need the initial EU again to resume working. After getting it to work, the plasma can be moved into one of several machines. Plasma turbines convert it directly to EU and also output the molten version of the material that the plasma was made of. Large plasma turbine is available in LuV and XL plasma turbine is available in ZPM. Large plasma turbine does not accept tectech dynamo hatches while the XL one does. Instead of this, the EHE(Extreme Heat Exchanger) can also be used to generate supercritical steam from the plasma, adding another step to the process but tripling the fuel efficiency. While the EHE appears to be the superior option, it does not scale well, so it is only recommended to company regular fusion reactors and not compact fusion reactors.

Plasmas that are commonly used for power generation are helium and tin plasma. Helium plasma produces 2,560,000 EU/t on a MK3 reactor (before turbine and EHE efficiency) and is generally preferred due to the source materials (Helium-3 and Deterium) being easily obtainable. Tin plasma produces 5,480,928 EU/t on a MK3 reactor and has the advantage of higher energy output and higher energy density (which is proportional to the maximum processing capability of EHE).

Warning: XL Plasma turbine is changed significantly in the current dev version, with harsh penalties being applied to plasmas with low energy density that run through good turbine blades. The latest version that is confirmed not to contain this change is 2.3.3.

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