Can Steam power be prioritized?

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zOldBulldog
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Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by zOldBulldog »

I was away from the game for years and upon returning I noticed that if I have solar power it will be used ahead of steam power. That is a great improvement... unless you are trying to burn excess wood.

So... is there a way to prioritize steam power consumption (but not totally disable solar to achieve it)?

Or better yet, is there a way to do it based on a circuit condition?

astroshak
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Re: Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by astroshak »

Yes and no.

To get rid of excess wood, I do one of two things. Most commonly, I set up a dedicated boiler or three, fed wood from the logistics network, and the steam engines are on their own separate power grid, and the only thing they power are a bunch of otherwise pointless radars. Radar are fairly high demand entities, that do not require a lot of materials to produce. The other thing I’ve heard of but only done once, was to prioritize the use of wood in making Steam for Coal Liquifaction.

It might be possible to use a Power Switch connected by circuit network to an Accumulator, to only turn the solar power plant on when the accumulator charge gets too low, but that would basically be either all the time (insufficient steam power) or never (sufficient steam power). Your better bet is to either have a small discrete power network as I described above, or to use the wood for coal liquifaction, if you use coal liquifaction.

zOldBulldog
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Re: Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by zOldBulldog »

Thanks, sounds like there is no way to *prioritize* or control where the power comes from first... only to consume in a dedicated fashion.

Bummer, I will look for a mod.

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Re: Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by DarkShadow44 »

Excess wood? Sound like a typical case of "put into chest and destroy chest" :D

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Re: Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by astroshak »

Thats one way to do it, but that requires manual action to repeat, rather than setting something up for automation, which is one of the main themes of this game.

I like to use the Concreep mod, which if the bot network is provided the stone bricks, concrete, or refined concrete, puts those tiles down starting at the roboport and extending out to its construction range, removing trees and rocks as it goes. So, some means of automated dealing with the stone, coal, and wood is necessary … that’s why I make a small power grid that only supplies a few radars, for the deliberate removal of wood. Stone and coal get sent elsewhere (rails for science, and plastic).

As I said in my other post though, prioritizing the wood in a Coal Liquifaction plant (because Coal Liquifaction requires steam) is another, very viable means of automated excess wood elimination.

Zavian
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Re: Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by Zavian »

I haven't needed to do this in quite a while, but from memory steam power is used before accumulators overnight, so a small steam power plant will get rid of excess wood. You can also add some steam tanks, and extra steam engines, so the boilers can run most of the day.

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Re: Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by zOldBulldog »

Thanks for the info. I ended up doing the following:

- Two inputs to the steam powerplant, wood and coal, prioritized for wood. The wood comes from a requester chest so that the bots bring it there.
- An accumulator near the plant to measure accumulator levels.
- When the accumulator level is below 98% AND there is wood in the chest... I activate the steam powerplant to burn wood and recharge the accumulators at least partially. This obviously happens at night.
- When the accumulator level is below 20% I activate the steam powerplant even if there is no wood. This happens if I run short on solar.

This way I never have to mess with the initial steam powerplant... just leave it there from beginning to end.

As a matter of fact I decided to use Luzivras solar mod so that I can use a single enhanced solar panel and accumulator. The research is very slow and the materials needed are expensive, but it is worth it for the space convenience, and this way my whole power generation stays in one place.

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Re: Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by wosthisdo »

Can I suggest the 'wood to landfill' mod https://mods.factorio.com/mod/wood-to-landfill
Saves a lot of mucking about.

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Re: Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by vangrunz »

astroshak wrote:
Sun Feb 12, 2023 9:58 pm
Most commonly, I set up a dedicated boiler or three, fed wood from the logistics network, and the steam engines are on their own separate power grid, and the only thing they power are a bunch of otherwise pointless radars. Radar are fairly high demand entities, that do not require a lot of materials to produce.
If you have the materials, you can also use Beacons instead of Radars. There's no need to put modules in them, they will consume 480 kW each even if they're empty (180 kW more than a Radar).

You can watch out for another mod called "Hydrothermal liquefaction". 5 wood, 25 crude oil & 50 steam (which you can produce also from ~tadaa~ wood with steam engines or as a "by-product" from not fully utilized nuclear power plants) will produce 50 crude oil:

https://mods.factorio.com/mod/htl

Another suggestion is to burn wood directly into coal which is reusable via coal liquefaction or plastic production:

https://mods.factorio.com/mod/woodcarbonization

Unfortunately, we don't have any electric energy balancer yet, only switches. I didn't find any mods which could support this.

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Re: Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by FuryoftheStars »

If you're going to burn it anyway for the sake of getting rid of it, then Zavian is correct:
Zavian wrote:
Fri Feb 17, 2023 5:34 am
I haven't needed to do this in quite a while, but from memory steam power is used before accumulators overnight, so a small steam power plant will get rid of excess wood. You can also add some steam tanks, and extra steam engines, so the boilers can run most of the day.


Otherwise, there are multiple mods out there for giving alternative uses to wood.
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Re: Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by vangrunz »

Yes, every other electric source such as steam engines, steam turbines or solar cells should be priorized over accumulators. I'd prefer steam turbines over steam engines even if you're using them just with boilers having 165°C. The output is much higher, 1.8 MW instead of 900 kW.

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Re: Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by astroshak »

vangrunz wrote:
Wed Feb 22, 2023 10:09 pm
astroshak wrote:
Sun Feb 12, 2023 9:58 pm
Most commonly, I set up a dedicated boiler or three, fed wood from the logistics network, and the steam engines are on their own separate power grid, and the only thing they power are a bunch of otherwise pointless radars. Radar are fairly high demand entities, that do not require a lot of materials to produce.
If you have the materials, you can also use Beacons instead of Radars. There's no need to put modules in them, they will consume 480 kW each even if they're empty (180 kW more than a Radar).
While that is true enough, Radar are dirt cheap. Beacons are not. You can make one Beacon that eats 480 kW of energy … or you can save on Plastic and Copper (and even on some 10 Iron Plate) and make four Radars, which collectively consume 1200 kW of energy.

Honestly though, I prefer to use Radars for another reason : Beacons take too long to produce and I tend to need them elsewhere.
vangrunz wrote:
Wed Feb 22, 2023 11:55 pm
Yes, every other electric source such as steam engines, steam turbines or solar cells should be priorized over accumulators. I'd prefer steam turbines over steam engines even if you're using them just with boilers having 165°C. The output is much higher, 1.8 MW instead of 900 kW.
Steam Engines are much cheaper than Steam Turbines, even paired up agains the one Turbine. And two Engines to one Turbine is a very good comparison, because both sets (one Turbine, or two Engines) consume the output of exactly one Boiler, producing the exact same 1.8 MW.

Quite honestly, in terms of electrical generation priority, I’d prefer that Steam Engines have a higher priority than Steam Turbines. Turbines are meant to be used with reactor setups. Engines are meant to be used with Boilers. If the two were to be split in terms of priority, having the Turbines take priority over the Engines would therefore make it more difficult to intentionally consume extraneous materials (burn off excess wood, or excess crude oil products when facing mass demand of another crude oil product). Having the Engines take priority, however, would allow for the desired burning to take place while meeting the vast majority of the electrical demand with nuclear power. Having Turbines take priority would result in using Turbines at the Boilers as well as the nuclear power plant, resulting in the same scenario we have now : Turbines at the reactors and Engines at the Boilers having the same priority.

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Re: Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by FuryoftheStars »

vangrunz wrote:
Wed Feb 22, 2023 11:55 pm
I'd prefer steam turbines over steam engines even if you're using them just with boilers having 165°C. The output is much higher, 1.8 MW instead of 900 kW.
They generate 1.8 MW (which is 2x 900 kW) simply because they comsume the steam at 60/sec (2x a boiler's 30/sec).
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Re: Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by vangrunz »

astroshak wrote:
Thu Feb 23, 2023 12:45 am
While that is true enough, Radar are dirt cheap. Beacons are not.

[...]

Steam Engines are much cheaper than Steam Turbines, even paired up agains the one Turbine.
I hope I got this right:
We're disussing about a setup to burn wood away from the map, resulting in wasting energy & materials exactly for that, while there's a careful eye on resource usage for exactly this setup?

Wouldn't it be better, in the matter of resource cost, to just store the wood into (wooden!) chests or install a mod that converts it into something useful? The two mods I've stated should fit in this case.

The "royal path" would be an additional vanilla recipe like converting wood into charcoal which can be used as a coal replacement for example so there would be no need to "waste" it somehow.
FuryoftheStars wrote:
Thu Feb 23, 2023 1:39 am
They generate 1.8 MW (which is 2x 900 kW) simply because they comsume the steam at 60/sec (2x a boiler's 30/sec).
Thanks for the explanation. I prefer substituting engines with turbines if nuclear power has been researched in the transition phase while building nuclear power plants and to have some megawatts in reserve until the "big buddy" kicks in. It's -technically- the better solution because you need only one device in the place of two (they're quickly interchanged), and you can use it later in the nuclear setup again. Unfortunately, I cannot recycle steam engines, so they're quite useless for me after this point.

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Re: Can Steam power be prioritized?

Post by JimBarracus »

From the wiki:
https://wiki.factorio.com/Electric_system
Electricity is provided on a priority basis. The demand for energy is satisfied by generators in following order:

Solar panels – Top priority; they always work at maximum performance available, unless they can cover all demand of the network, in which case they match demand.
Steam engines and Steam turbines – They match whatever demand solar panels cannot satisfy; note that Engines and Turbines do have the same priority, leftover demand is equally divided among both.
Accumulator – Last resort. They are only discharged when demand cannot be met by other means. They are also only charged when all demand is met, and there is yet more power available.
Steam engines and turbines will run at night when solar power is not available.
Just connect it to the main grid.

You just need to make sure that you have enough space to store all the wood you want to burn.

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