Burner Inserters: Less polluting than non-burning!?

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Chibiabos
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Burner Inserters: Less polluting than non-burning!?

Post by Chibiabos »

I am probably seeing something wrong, here, but ... first, the obvious: no inserter seems to generate pollution directly. HOWEVER, non-burner inserters INDIRECTLY generate pollution because they consume power and, prior to getting solar panel and accumulator tech (which takes a long time, as you have to have a working chemical plant to produce the batteries for accumulators), that means you have to have more steam-generated electricity to power those inserters, and the boilers used to heat the water for the steam engines do generate pollution. Both burning and non-burning inserters need coal (burning directly, non-burning indirectly because the steam boilers to power them , and the drill (whether burning = 10 pollution, or electric = 9 pollution)

To recap this in simplified bullet points:
[*] Burner and Non-Burner Inserters both need a mining drill for coal (until Solar Power and Accumulators, the point at which this argument is moot) and thus both have a base level of pollution from this drill
[*] The direct burning of coal for Burner Inserters does NOT generate pollution
[*] The indirect burning of coal for Non-Burner Inserters DOES generate pollution (the boilers that heats the water for the steam engines)

If I understand the above correctly, then burner inserters produce less pollution and should probably be used in lieu of regular inserters, at least where inserter speed is insignificant to production (such as with science pack production, where the time it takes for an inserter to supply input or move output becomes insignificant versus production time). I do realize burner inserters are seemingly about one-third slower than regular inserters, but the lower pollution = less worry about biter attacks combined with extending early game electrical output (since burner inserters don't consume electricity from the grid, that power can be used for factories or fast inserters where those are needed). It might even be worth considering using burner inserters for smelting, given the smelting needs coal anyway, but I know using a slow inserter means getting the same output of iron or copper plates requires more smelters, which might negate the net gains of lower pollution from using burner inserters.

Did I get something completely wrong, or has someone already found this?
Last edited by Chibiabos on Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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DaveMcW
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Re: Burner Inserters: Less polluting than non-burning!?

Post by DaveMcW »

Burner inserter burns 2.63 coal to move 100 items.

Basic inserter burns 1110 kJ (0.14 coal) to move 100 items.
1110 kJ produces 17.1 pollution in a boiler.

To mine the extra 2.49 coal (= 2.63 - 0.14), an electric miner burns 427 kJ and produces 42.7 pollution.
427 kJ produces 6.6 pollution in a boiler, plus a bit extra for the coal to power it.

So the burner inserter produces 3 times as much pollution overall. In practice it's not quite that high, since the basic inserter has a 400W idle drain. But you would have to use the inserters VERY infrequently for the burner inserter to win.

An additional factor is burner inserters require less pollution to craft, so they actually come out ahead in the first hour of the game.
Last edited by DaveMcW on Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Chibiabos
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Re: Burner Inserters: Less polluting than non-burning!?

Post by Chibiabos »

DaveMcW wrote:Burner inserter burns 2.63 coal to move 100 items.

Basic inserter burns 1110 kJ (0.14 coal) to move 100 items.
1110 kJ produces 17.1 pollution in a boiler.

To mine the extra 2.49 coal (= 2.63 - 0.14), an electric miner burns 427 kJ and produces 42.7 pollution.
427 kJ produces 6.6 pollution in a boiler, plus a bit extra for the coal to power it.

So the burner inserter produces 3 times as much pollution overall. In practice it's not quite that high, since the basic inserter has a 400W idle drain. But you would have to use the inserters VERY infrequently for the burner inserter to win.

An additional factor is burner inserters require less pollution to craft, so they actually come out ahead in the first hour of the game.
Ooh ... wow, the difference of how much coal to operate a burner vs. non-burner is much more significant than I had thought, but I was weighing in the constant energy drain of electric inserters. So for very slow processes (like beaker production), burners may be the better option for a long time given they don't have the energy drain while not being used (especially given the conclusion many of us reach early on that to make up for how long it takes to produce beakers, its best to have as many factories churning them out as you can, each one needing inserters to supply them which for non-burners = constant energy drain doing nothing) ... use burner inserters to supply them (I haven't been able to work out outputting quite as well, if I use half a conveyor to keep a coal supply for the burners, then I have to use two conveyors to supply the ingredients for red beakers with half of each of those supply conveyors being for coal, which means long inserters for output).

And pollution to craft? You mean to produce them in factories, right? I confess I haven't quite caught onto the don't-craft-anything-yourself or minimize-crafting-yourself ... or do you generate pollution when you craft things yourself, too?

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DaveMcW
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Re: Burner Inserters: Less polluting than non-burning!?

Post by DaveMcW »

Pollution mainly comes from mining and smelting iron/copper ingredients. But if you have a circuit assembly machine that counts too.

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Re: Burner Inserters: Less polluting than non-burning!?

Post by Xterminator »

Wow very nice explanation and breakdown Dave. I didn't know really any of what you said before I read your post. :p
As you mentioned though, burner inserters are good in about the first hour or so of the game. So to the OP, I would suggest using burner inserters to start out with, at least on your boilers, and then move to normal ones. :P
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Re: Burner Inserters: Less polluting than non-burning!?

Post by maackey »

DaveMcW wrote:Burner inserter burns 2.63 coal to move 100 items.

Basic inserter burns 1110 kJ (0.14 coal) to move 100 items.
1110 kJ produces 17.1 pollution in a boiler.

To mine the extra 2.49 coal (= 2.63 - 0.14), an electric miner burns 427 kJ and produces 42.7 pollution.
427 kJ produces 6.6 pollution in a boiler, plus a bit extra for the coal to power it.

So the burner inserter produces 3 times as much pollution overall. In practice it's not quite that high, since the basic inserter has a 400W idle drain. But you would have to use the inserters VERY infrequently for the burner inserter to win.

An additional factor is burner inserters require less pollution to craft, so they actually come out ahead in the first hour of the game.
Interesting. Where did you get the numbers for these? I'd be interested to know whether its economical to use burner inserters with solid fuel in lieu of coal (for filling boilers specifically). The longer burning solid fuel will cause the inserters to be idle even longer... but its all guesses at this point. I don't really care about the early game pollution, because there isn't much to begin with -- I typically skip burner inserters altogether, just like steel furnaces, because I had read that electric burners are more efficient, but the idle time/draw is noticeable.

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