Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

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mrvn
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Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by mrvn »

I read somewhere else that you can store hot water in tanks for later use. Now I want to use hot water tanks as replacement for accumulators in the right ratio.

You have solar cells providing power during the day. You have water going through boilers to fill tanks with hot water. You have steam engines running from those tanks. Here is what I want to figure out if someone else hasn't already:

1) An offshore pump provides 60 fluids/sec. How many boilers to I need to hook up to that to fill a tank with 100° water?

2) Do I need small pumps to fill the tank?

3) One offshore pump can run 10 steam engines 24/7. But during daytime solar cells provide power. Assume full solar power can provide 100% of the needed energy how many steam engines can be run from one tank without it running dry?

4) Should the steam engines be in series, parallel, parallel lines of serial engines? Any small pumps beneficial there? Is one tank enough? Are two better?

5) What are the optimal numbers for boilers, steam engines tanks and solar panels normalized to 1 offshore pump? Does it make sense for the solar cells to provide more than 100% power at noon so they cover a larger amount at dusk and dawn?

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by ChurchOrganist »

All I can tell you is that Negative Root tried this in his "Break the Game" series, and was unable to get it to work.

I'm sure it can be done, but to me it seems the restricting factor may be the current throughput of the small pump.

Also one of the factors you should consider is that you have to heat the water in the first place - would your plan be to store the water in tanks once it has passed through the steam engine once?

I do know that recirculation of heated water is an accepted practice for efficiency in the real world - i have friends who have worked in power stations. That is one of the primary functions of a cooling tower - to condense the steam back into hot water so it can be recirculated.

I don't see how that could work in Factorio under the current fluid mechanics as we lack the necessary valves to accomplish the topping up of cold water by the offshore pump.

An interesting challenge :)

Let us all know how you get on :)
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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by mrvn »

A small pump is a valve. You can turn it on and of and it allows flows only in one direction.

Recirculating is a good idea. I wonder if you can get a read on the water temp. Fill a tank with water and then circulate it through a boiler and back into the tank till it is at 100° (>98 because you will never get to 100 through mixing?).

I have never tried using what comes out of a steam engine other than for another steam engine. Do steam engines actually use up water so that after enough there is simply nothing left? Someone mentioned that steam engine don't create a back pressure so whatever is left at the last engine seems to disapear. But maybe that is just because it (usually) is an open end. What if you put a (full) tank, a boiler and a small pump in a loop? Will it use up 6 fluids/sec as it passes through the steam engine and recirculate the rest? Can't wait to try this tonight.

As for topping of the circuit with fresh water... Just connect a offshore pump through a small pump (or 2) to the tank or boiler. Then connect a red wire between the tank and pump and set it to turn on if the tank is below a threshold. Added points for adding a hysteresis. Gold star if you connect multiple circuits to the pump and have it turn on the lowest 2 (or the lowest with 2 small pumps).

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by bobucles »

Steam engines are no different from your ordinary pipe, except they destroy water up to 6/sec in order to produce energy. Offshore pumps produce 60/sec, and pipes will move up to 120/sec before rapidly losing "pressure".

The most basic setup is 14-15 boilers, 1 pump and 10 steam engines. The pump provides 60, 10 engines burn up to 60, and you don't have to worry about pressure loss.

You can run water through a steam engine into any kind of storage system. Storage tanks will lose output rate as their storage goes down.

You don't need storage tanks for the baseline steam system; the pumps and boilers will always keep that well fed. You only need storage tanks if you intend to have excess steam engines. In that case it's best to run the excess steam engines on both sides of the storage tanks, or even weave it in between them. That way you can keep pressure for as long as possible.

Storage tanks hold up to 2500 fluid, enough for 7 engines to run about a minute while taking full input about 40 seconds to fill. I don't have numbers on day/night cycles.

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by starholme »

This is one of those ideas that is kinda fun to build, but way more work than accumulators. I've played with it a bit, never built a huge system though.

Essentially, you need to use offshore pumps to bring water into your tanks. Use circuit network to stop the pumps when the tanks are ~80% full. More than that and you run into issues with the fluid not circulating I found.
Run boilers in strings of ~8, with a small pump feeding each. Return the hot water back to the tanks.
You 'can' feed steam engines using small pumps, but you'll want them on their own power network to ensure that they don't slow down in a brownout/blackout.

The system for storing hot water that I found worked best myself was like this:
sets of 1 offshore pump->14 boilers
feeds into storage tanks, distributed out among your steam engines

I can't remember how long the factorio 'day' is, but:
Each string can feed 10 engines without touching storage for the night.
Days are about twice the length of nights (70%day, 30% night, something in that line)
So each 'day', a string of boilers should be able to heat enough water for 20 storage fed steam engines that night(assuming solar runs the entire grid during the day).
You need to cover ~135 seconds of the ~416 second day. Each steam engine needs 6 per second, so 810 units of water per night. A tank holds 2500. So 1 tank for every three steam engines.

So really, 1 offshore pump->14 boilers->10 steam engines->2 small pumps->7 storage tanks->20 steam engines.
Not sure if you need to turn off the small pumps at night, might starve the direct fed engines if you don't. Need to test that.
Might want to split your flow at the pumps, one pump->4 tanks->10 engines, not sure if it would make much difference.

Some useful numbers that I think are still correct:
Max water usage of steam engine per second: 6
Offshore pump: 60
Small pump: 30
Storage tank holds 2500, but remember that the liquid needs room to flow in factorio. Stick to ~2000 if you want it to circulate.
Factorio day length: https://wiki.factorio.com/index.php?title=Game-day

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by DaveMcW »

starholme wrote:So really, 1 offshore pump->14 boilers->10 steam engines->2 small pumps->7 storage tanks->20 steam engines.
Compare to the default setup of:
1 offshore pump->14 boilers->10 steam engines
1 offshore pump->14 boilers->10 steam engines
1 offshore pump->14 boilers->10 steam engines

You are saving 2 offshore pumps and 28 boilers, at the cost of 2 small pumps and 7 storage tanks and more complexity. Does not seem worth it.

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by AutoMcD »

There was an electric boiler mod specifically for this purpose, but it has not been updated and I can't find it on the mod portal.

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by mrvn »

DaveMcW wrote:
starholme wrote:So really, 1 offshore pump->14 boilers->10 steam engines->2 small pumps->7 storage tanks->20 steam engines.
Compare to the default setup of:
1 offshore pump->14 boilers->10 steam engines
1 offshore pump->14 boilers->10 steam engines
1 offshore pump->14 boilers->10 steam engines

You are saving 2 offshore pumps and 28 boilers, at the cost of 2 small pumps and 7 storage tanks and more complexity. Does not seem worth it.
Add 42 inserters.

If you have 14 boilers then all the water gets heated full flow in one gow and there is no need to circulate to heat. So do we even need the small pumps?

1 offshore pump->14 boilers->10 steam engines->7 storage tanks->20 steam engines.

Add 14 inserters.

I would probably go with 6 storage tanks and 18 steam engines for an exccess of water. Or 7 to 21 to make the chains even.

Building this a bit more work than plain chains but not that hard. Its just point and click. Building 100 of them with blueprints is the same no matter how complex it is. One benefit I see is that it takes up less offshore pumps. You might run out of space on your watering hole. Especially if ou play with water only at the starting place.

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by mooklepticon »

AutoMcD wrote:There was an electric boiler mod specifically for this purpose, but it has not been updated and I can't find it on the mod portal.
This is really the issue. Storing hot water only really saves you on coal boilers. You still need the right amount of steamies to convert to electricity.

With an electric boiler, you could do solar panels to heat water during the day to run steamies at night. (Which is kinda what we do IRL in some solar plants using salt: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_pow ... ntegration )

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by starholme »

Tossing about the idea with a coworker to adjust the tank capacity for our game to match barrels stored in chests. 9 chests * 48 slots * 10 barrels * 25 oil per barrel = 108,000 units of oil in the space of a tank that holds 2500.

Make the tank hold ~100,000 units, then you get some real storage density for power...

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by AutoMcD »

mooklepticon wrote:
AutoMcD wrote:There was an electric boiler mod specifically for this purpose, but it has not been updated and I can't find it on the mod portal.
This is really the issue. Storing hot water only really saves you on coal boilers. You still need the right amount of steamies to convert to electricity.

With an electric boiler, you could do solar panels to heat water during the day to run steamies at night. (Which is kinda what we do IRL in some solar plants using salt: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_pow ... ntegration )
Right. That's the end result we want, right? Conservation of fuel.
So if you just had a giant steam plant that scales back during the day, is the result any different??

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by mergele »

AutoMcD wrote: So if you just had a giant steam plant that scales back during the day, is the result any different??
You are right, it is not really useful since it is only real benefit is to reduce the number of boilers and offshore pumps. But it's cool and I want it and that's reason enough for me. :geek:

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by ssilk »

ChurchOrganist wrote:All I can tell you is that Negative Root tried this in his "Break the Game" series, and was unable to get it to work.
viewtopic.php?f=208&t=21543 A guide to Night Steam with Hot Water Storage
(But I think that is not well balanced)

I remember I tried that once. Results can be found here viewtopic.php?f=208&t=3724 Handling Gigantic Energy Peaks
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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by mrvn »

AutoMcD wrote:
mooklepticon wrote:
AutoMcD wrote:There was an electric boiler mod specifically for this purpose, but it has not been updated and I can't find it on the mod portal.
This is really the issue. Storing hot water only really saves you on coal boilers. You still need the right amount of steamies to convert to electricity.

With an electric boiler, you could do solar panels to heat water during the day to run steamies at night. (Which is kinda what we do IRL in some solar plants using salt: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_pow ... ntegration )
Right. That's the end result we want, right? Conservation of fuel.
So if you just had a giant steam plant that scales back during the day, is the result any different??
Yes it is. Because with the current boilers you burn fuel to heat the water while with electric burners would would use sunlight.
Electric burners + hot water tanks + steamies would be a full replacement for accumulators. No more worries about running out of coal without noticing.

On the other hand what do I do with all the wood I get from clearing forests? :)

Oh, and don't have the electric burners connected to the same power grid as the steam engines.

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by Optera »

Instead of electric burners, using electricity produced by photovoltaic, we should get pipes over curved reflectors directly heating up fluids passing through them.
Image
It's a lot more cheaper to produce than photovoltaic and could potentially replace existing steam boilers without much changes to the engine setup apart from adding storage tanks for the night.

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by Deadly-Bagel »

You'd be adding a new type of "burner" but by the time it is applicable most players will be moving to full solar. The next release will (probably) also have nuclear energy so you're trying to fill a gap that doesn't really exist.

If you want more alternatives for energy you could look into mods.
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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by mrvn »

Deadly-Bagel wrote:You'd be adding a new type of "burner" but by the time it is applicable most players will be moving to full solar. The next release will (probably) also have nuclear energy so you're trying to fill a gap that doesn't really exist.

If you want more alternatives for energy you could look into mods.
I think even late in the game they would be a good alternative to accumulators. They are quite expensive in both resources and space.

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by Optera »

Deadly-Bagel wrote:You'd be adding a new type of "burner" but by the time it is applicable most players will be moving to full solar. The next release will (probably) also have nuclear energy so you're trying to fill a gap that doesn't really exist.

If you want more alternatives for energy you could look into mods.
What else is a nuclear reactor than another type of burner?
All it's gameplay fun/complexity comes from (p)reprocessing it's fuel.

Thermal Solar Plants complexity comes from keeping them operable at night. Which is really dumbed down with the perfect isolated tanks we have.

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by Zonk »

Doesnt Water in Tanks cool down by Time?

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Re: Replacing accumulators with hot water storage?

Post by orzelek »

Zonk wrote:Doesnt Water in Tanks cool down by Time?
Game is not very realistic in this regard - heated water will stay at 100 indefinitely.

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