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### Alt-F4 #60 - Burning Questions

Posted: Fri May 06, 2022 4:56 pm
On the diamond anniversary of Alt-F4, local madman Sir Fendi returns once again with a deep dive into Factorio’s thermodynamics. Or, said another way, he wants to find out how you can get the most out of your coal by further processing it into different fuels. Isn’t that nice of him? Modules are naturally also taken into consideration. No half measures.

### Re: Alt-F4 #60 - Burning Questions

Posted: Fri May 06, 2022 5:31 pm
Reminds me of the years old thread here, asking the question how much energy can you get from a blue belt of coal.

Nice to see that the answer has not changed (solid fuel is best in terms of energy gains).

### Re: Alt-F4 #60 - Burning Questions

Posted: Sun May 08, 2022 11:31 am
Thanks for the post. As I keep upping the difficulty of the game it is good to see how to maximize energy output of the resources I can actually get my hands on.

### Re: Alt-F4 #60 - Burning Questions

Posted: Sun May 08, 2022 7:10 pm
Brilliant as always, great writeup.

### Re: Alt-F4 #60 - Burning Questions

Posted: Mon May 09, 2022 7:22 am
I guess its time for a no nuclear and no solar playthrough.

Burn everything!

### Re: Alt-F4 #60 - Burning Questions

Posted: Mon May 09, 2022 9:28 am
Great Article, and especially, great diagrams !

0.) I tend to do my power chains in Helmod (now that the power calculations have been mostly fixed) with 1 GW in mind (for the nice conversion 1 GW = 1 GJ/s, the default Helmod time interval being 1s), unless maybe if I'm doing «Ingredient input» chains to compare what can be made from the same quantity of a specific starting ingredient.

Now, for the mandatory nitpicking !

1.) It's a shame Factorio's history didn't get a mention : 50% efficiency boilers & energy doubling, burnable copper...

2.) A huge aspect is missing here : pollution ! (Even though briefly mentioned... in terms of trees => wood only ??)
If you actually *are* enjoying having biters as a threat... why wouldn't you try to set up your game so that they keep being one until the endgame ? (Admittedly, the Flame Turret supremacy makes this kind of hard without adding flame-resistant biter mods...)

3.) No mention of whether Marathon with its Expensive mode costs makes any difference ?

4.) There should be a way to figure out resource distribution for most common presets, and then even for arbitrary settings... but yeah, a tough nut to crack !

5.) Might be a great opportunity to update Wiki's supposedly obsolete Tutorial:Producing power from oil. What were the main effects on this math from the way things were before the «oilpocalypse» of 0.17.60 / 0.17.0 ?

6.) Modules have no effect on building passive drain, this might change the math somehow, though I suspect it's negligible in vanilla ?

7.) Since options in Factorio kind of explode once you've managed to «liberate» oil, it might be worthwhile to explore Assemblers 2 and other module levels than 3 ? However, as you hinted, this might require also doing Capital eXpenses costs...

### Re: Alt-F4 #60 - Burning Questions

Posted: Mon May 09, 2022 11:48 pm
OP here, thank you for expanding the discussion!

1.) It would have been nice to briefly talk about these but I had no idea since I started playing after 1.0.

2.) Pollution is an inescapable issue for all burner fuels and it would have made sense to explicitly say this in the article. At least I did link to my comparison of coal/solar/nuclear power where it is discussed at length.

3.) Indeed no mention of the expensive gamemode. Good news though: it turns out that all the fuel recipes are the same in it!

4.) Distribution calcs are a tough nut to crack indeed but the real solution about abundances is to look at your map and decide how much coal and oil are currently accessible to you at the moment.

5.) I saw this wiki page but its focus is different - it looks at optimizing energy output per processing machine per second while I look at energy output per unit of input while completely ignoring production rates and ratios. Meanwhile, I don't know how the wiki calculated its values for "energy per coal" for solid fuel and stuff on the Fuels page and so this article can become a secondary source for that despite finding different values.

6.) Drain was not part of the calculations at all because machine utilization was not discussed (see 8). However, indeed in vanilla the drains are relatively tiny.

7.) There are very many module and beacon combos one can explore until they find the one producing the highest energy gains. I frankly did not want to go down that rabbit hole.

8.) I ignored production rates and ratios, which are definitely worth looking into after you decide that you want to go through with coal liquification. However, this also goes into blueprint design and I did not want to be prescriptive.

### Re: Alt-F4 #60 - Burning Questions

Posted: Tue May 10, 2022 10:38 am
SirFendi wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 11:48 pm
[...]
2.) Pollution is an inescapable issue for all burner fuels and it would have made sense to explicitly say this in the article. At least I did link to my comparison of coal/solar/nuclear power where it is discussed at length.
[...]
Niiice ! (A shame it's «wasted» on reddit though... if only because it would be improved by those fancy diagrams of yours !)

### Re: Alt-F4 #60 - Burning Questions

Posted: Tue May 10, 2022 3:27 pm
Very interesting Alt-F4 entry.
It reminds me of this challenge : viewtopic.php?f=5&t=71823 (how much net energy can one produce with a full blue belt of coal as input).
Things have changed since this challenge, but I remember that the way to go was speed bacon beacon sandwich with prod moduled assembling machines/chem plants in between.
Note : this doesn't rely on exploiting the way beacons can work at full capacity by powering them only a few ticks per second.
Now, it's possible to have prod modules to make rocket fuel, should be the optimal way to go.

### Re: Alt-F4 #60 - Burning Questions

Posted: Fri May 13, 2022 1:01 am
So, not that it'd make much of a difference to your calculations, but it seems like when entities are running, they still consume their idle power in addition to their operating power. As such, your chart of power consumption should actually be 0.434, 0.217, 0.155, and 0.36167 (rounded to display 362 kW in game), respectively.

Edit: Another thing I wonder, why subtract the original energy from the used coal from the final product? You're converting stored energy to another stored energy. Take into account power usage to achieve this, yes, but I don't think there's any need to subtract the original stored energy from the final seems it's not actually "used", just converted. This means all of your final calculations on % gain can get +100%.

Edit2: Er, nevermind about the other edit. Took me a bit to realize it. I guess I do the math differently. New_value / old_value x 100 = %_of_original. If I want to then know the actual gain/loss, -100%.

### Re: Alt-F4 #60 - Burning Questions

Posted: Thu May 19, 2022 10:07 am
they still consume their idle power in addition to their operating power.
Thank you for pointing that out! While the power usages increase by only about 3% when including drain power, I'll add a note to the article about it for the sake of precision.