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Energy Options: Solar, Wind, Hydro and Wood Gas etc. Plus Fuels.

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CosmicTony

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Too Long, Too Lazy to Read: Multiple power options (standard logical power options for post-apocalypse) should be considered for the game.

On the simple end, depending on the era its all set, then Solar arrays and alternate power solutions are fairly abundant. So players who can scavenge them should be able to rig them into their home/bases power solution. A desired solution too I would assume as they are quiet and don't guzzle fuels.

Battery Arrays - required for all the below solutions and don't take an electrical engineer to build, so incorporating multiple types of power input into the game mechanics isn't out of line with typical post-apocalypse survival scenarios as long as you can amass a lot of batteries and the larger gauge insulated wire.

Solar - 20-100W units are more common than most would think. If the setting is modern than many homes have panels and almost ALL RVs have them if not as standard then added by all owners (seriously everyone I know who has a Caravan/RV has solar panels). This includes boats too, anything you can sleep on has panels these days. Homes with already built-in arrays could be 'hot property' as long as the new owner keeps them safe. The downside is obvious, you only generate power when the sun is out and its worse in the darker seasons. Depending on complexity of the game mechanics, players should be required to make sure that panels face the sun or they have screwed it up.

Wind - A Prop, a pedestal and a Car alternator and you too can have a passable wind generator. But finding them around already built in stores and on farms or even as a field of turbines somewhere on the map would be possible. The downside is again obvious, if there is little wind you get no power. The doesn't need to support wind currents or dynamic weather it probably just needs to have areas of the map it works, varied between 0 and 100% output for the device.

Hydro - If you have a running stream you can harness energy from it with a water wheel or gravity fed pump conversion turbine. The downside is the water speed and clogging. Plus building the DAM thing... get it. um anyway it may just be a system that is already in the world and players need to fix and maintain. I would love to see a full hydro plant at a dam that can work but even a farmhouse with a water wheel would be a hot property for those that can find and hold it.

Steam - Fire, Boiler with water in it and the same alternator you'd use for the Wind or Hydro turbines in the way of all that steamy pressure. Out of everything it can be fairly hard to build but overall can reliably generate power for long periods. Downside is that it must be tended and fed with wood/coal and water. Steam can also be produced with the Sun though I would not expect a game to incorporate that, though camping stores all have cook units now that have Solar Cookers. Just a thought.

Wood Gas - If this isn't in, our grandparents will just scoff :p. It's one of the easier though maybe less known (to younger generations) ways of generating power. If you don't worry about being green and you can chop wood or find coal... you have gas for both cars AND power generation. My Grandfather ran his Dairy Farm sheds on one in the 60s and I am pretty sure he even had a tractor with one mounted for short hauling. It's simple when you have the bits and scavenging up the parts and knocking one together for one way to power a generator without typical fuel is a cool goal for players. It is large and unwieldy for the most part, needs a lot of attention if you want to keep the generation up and it's not quiet as it essentially just gas powers a standard combustion engine. (preferably diesel engine)

Manual Crank - Need a few watts but have no wind or water for power... but you have a fit friend. Make them do what the wind and water would have done. Not actually serious but it is possible if you built a pedal bike rig or treadmill. With a steady pace you can charge batteries for flashlights and devices very well. Though frankly if those sorts of things are in game plugging into an RV or Car 12V socket or a generator is likely more sensible. ;)

Other
Alcohol - "Stills ain't just for making Moonshine Sister-wife, Yeehar!!" Banjo aside, ethanol production though relatively dangerous can make booze for the mental state, sterilisation fluid for anti-infection uses and full-bore "don't smoke around it" fuel. I would think if the game ever incorporated aircraft it might force players to have to get a dangerous Still for the fuel mix.

Vegetable Oils - Exacted from harvests (assuming there is farming). Not super efficient overall and probably a waste of food but most oils can run diesel engines OK. It can be as simple as making the player build a press and some vats.

Sorta Sci-Fi...
Fuel Cells - not actually impossible at all with the right bits but overall really dumb if you don't have storage for the output... namely hydrogen. It's pretty damn dangerous at larger scales and also requires other power sources to a small degree to kick start and maintain it. Oh, and really good tubing, essentially best grade stainless steel tubing you can get. Basically a fantasy for most people in a survival situation... maybe an end game concept. But then I may as well have said Fusion Power right. lol


As a Community Goal:
"Keeping the lights on" -- On servers where a lot of people have decided to build a community they might be able to band together to get the grid functional again (even if just in parts). So if things were in the world like a power station or Wind Farms they could rebuild, then maintain the power grid to at least partial functionality. It would be advantageous for all because you could have things like power tools and welders that speed up all crafting, automation of some farming and crafting and more importantly... Water systems and Refrigeration.

I just quickly wrote this up so sorry if hard to read or filled with typos.
 

NothingsTRUE

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All of these are good and I believe separate about 75% of them have been mentioned on other threads.

I want to touch base on wood gas. Yes you can run a car, tractor or Genny on wood gas. But constructing a devise to do so would be hard to implement into the game unless theirs a recipe you can find for one and all you need to do is gather the ingredients. For wood gas to work you need to have a heat source confined to a small area (55 gal drum works great) with another container ( long ammo box works really well) to insert the wood in. The 55 gal drum heats up the long ammo box which heats the wood without burning it. Than the gases travel out of the wood box through a hose and it gets sent to the intake side of what ever you are fueling. Here is the fun part. Spacing the outlet hose enough to allow enough fresh air in to ignite when compressed. I think wood gas would be a great addition to this game versus all others besides (alcohol, solar and wind).

To touch base on this a little more it would be ideal to also have a "home recipe" for the wood gas. Kinda like a fireplace insert except its not used for heating the home. Make the fire in the fire place, place the wood gas chamber over the fire, run a house outside to your Genny and you can add more fuel while being in door to run your Genny 24/7 (if enough wood is stock piled).
 
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BlackWater

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Yeah good ideas but like NothingsTrue said most of them have been suggested. The fuel cells are a little advanced for survivors of this time period.

On Biofuels it might waste food to make a lot although you could collect what's already been made since the apoc just happened, since we are by the ocean we could harvest algae I have heard of it being used as a bio fuel.

On burning material for fuel I believe the name for the setup is a Gasifier. It would be interesting but they would be a technical build, like NothingsTrue said it should probably be a recipe that you can find to create a vehicle modification. Although they are becoming a lot more popular due to prepping, the LEAF gasifier generator was featured on Doomsday Preppers this is what it looks like.

They could have something like the LEAF but really rare it would be the most efficent gasifier due to having machine made parts, the other gasifiers would be less efficent then other engines due to being thrown together with random part's. Here are some pic's of hodgepodge gasifiers.

http://preparingyourfamily.s3.amazo...ads/2011/11/adler-with-wood-gas-generator.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/37/Wood_gasifier_on_epa_tractor.jpg
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/5d/88/f7/5d88f7646f9773938664385eaca9d328.jpg
 
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CosmicTony

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I saw bits and pieces of a few ideas in threads but I just made one specifically for Energy. Specifically to talk about the good and the bad of any options and how they be presented in the game. It's one of the major failings of other games, not including energy options, when it is in fact one of the prime motivations for stabilising and fortifying for survival. STN has already one-up'd similar titles in just a few things we have seen in their concepts/videos. So I have hope it's incorporated more robustly then just a couple of types of fuel generators and "mains" power that may or may not be working map wide still??

@NothingsTRUE Yeah, I actually had kinda thought for the most part the gasifiers and Wood Gas units would have to exist in the world already at least partially ready to use. Due mainly to the fact that even though you can build from scratch it would have to be like a recipe you earn/find. As @BlackWater rightly mentions though gasifiers are something people have started seeking out due to prepping or more commonly, 'going off-grid'. They could exist in the world as units you find and have to haul back to your base, like trailer gennys.

I was thinking I would love to have those moments where you are driven to loot more because you found some of the parts for a quiet Energy source and need that one last piece, and Car batteries have just become like GOLD because we want our arrays bigger and bigger so we become "energy rich". Of course all crashing down if we are raided or overrun... oh the loss. :p
 

NothingsTRUE

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@CosmicTony Remember its not just about the batteries it depends on how the solar panels are wired and what wattage they are which will determine the amount of batteries needed. The batteries act as a amp storage bay and its not necessarily true that adding more is better. Sometimes the less you have the less maintenance they are and the better they preform. Think of it this way:

10 100w solar panels could run perfectly fine with only 3 deep cycle batteries rated at 660 CCA (cold cranking amps) ( I prefer gel batteries to CCA due to the fact the gels are made to charge, drain and than charge a lot) and give you what you need with a decent inverter and charge controllers. If you wanted to add more batteries for an ALL nite source of power than yes you will need more batteries to carry a constant load over a longer stretch of time. Also wiring of the solar panels takes in affect as well. Wiring them positive to negative in a chain gives you a high amp and low wattage and positive to positive is opposite (I may have this backwards been a while since I did research).

I love alternate power sources.

Another one that is REALLY GOOD is the HHO generator (hydrogen, hydrogen and oxygen). They take one battery and one solar panel to charge two all thread bolts with metal plates submerged in a sealed container of distilled water with a vent pipe to catch the gas. This provides Hydrogen to be fed in the intake side and ignites. HHO is by far the best as a small unit only 10" high and 6" in diameter can power a large off road truck or big generator. You can also rig a 1 gallon holding tank to build up enough reserve in the full throttle or load to compensate for the lack of producing more gas.

I can go on and on but I wont :)
 
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NothingsTRUE

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@BlackWater I believe its an engineered algae that provided the bio fuels. I am not sure regular algae will do the trick. I read an article about the algae farm a while back but cannot remember an specifics.

I love that leaf gas machine I might have to look into that.

As shown in the bus pick the generators can be quite cumbersome and really shouldn't be used an anything other than a pickup truck as a lot of metal fabricating would need to be done to put it in a SUV or van/bus.
 
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BlackWater

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Yeah I really like alternate power sources. The HHO generator sounds pretty cool it would make a really good advanced power source that would be difficult to learn to craft

On the Algae I didn't know which was which because I had heard about engineered algae for small Fuel Cells and when I read about algaes use as a bio fuel I assumed it was normal algae since algae sounds like something that would be simple to use as a biofuel the only problem would be creating a lot of it for use as fuel. I havn't read anything about the subject in awhile I just came across it when researching for unconventinal and new power sources. What I remember is what the farm was about was trying to find ways to harvest largers amounts of algae, but I could be wrong.

If you guys haven't seen it yet I posted a newer portable generator that dosen't run on gas but solar power the brand I talk about is the Solar E Power Cube. It's about the same size as a regular portable generator but they typically have solar panals that fold out.
http://www.community.survivethenights.net/threads/solar-cube.2330/
 
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I've mentioned previously, and it would make good sense to render down fats from animals (that you kill for food) for fuel.
 

BlackWater

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Yeah it's basically the same thing as running straight vegtable oil, but you would need a diesel. I really hope they add both gas and diesel running car's, diesels are def my favorite for survior vehicles they may be loud but they will be running once gas has degraded too much to use anymore or it runs out all together.
 
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Right, but the rendering process would add another interesting (crafting), potentially difficult/time consuming, and fun thing to do. Plus it is also potentially sustainable.
 

BlackWater

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Yeah it would make a interesting process,it would also make certain animals with a high fat content more valuable besides for use as a food source like Bear's, Geese, Pheasent's and farm bred pig's not wild boar. Besides being good for food they would also render the most fat for processing into bio diesel or running straight in the car(heating elements are recomended for cold climate's).
 

Billyhz

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As a Community Goal:
"Keeping the lights on" -- On servers where a lot of people have decided to build a community they might be able to band together to get the grid functional again (even if just in parts). So if things were in the world like a power station or Wind Farms they could rebuild, then maintain the power grid to at least partial functionality. It would be advantageous for all because you could have things like power tools and welders that speed up all crafting, automation of some farming and crafting and more importantly... Water systems and Refrigeration.

I just quickly wrote this up so sorry if hard to read or filled with typos.
that would be brilliant! but why not go further by allowing the reactivation of factories and similar facilities across the map (labs even?) as part of the rebuilding....maybe even to the point where communication to other advanced communities on other servers by making a form of radio tower? though it'd have to be restricted to a form of terminal on top of the tower and could have it's own HUD maybe for text+voice chat... sure it's a bit of a stretch but one is allowed to dream aren't they?
 

Billyhz

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On the Algae I didn't know which was which because I had heard about engineered algae for small Fuel Cells and when I read about algaes use as a bio fuel I assumed it was normal algae since algae sounds like something that would be simple to use as a biofuel the only problem would be creating a lot of it for use as fuel*. I havn't read anything about the subject in awhile I just came across it when researching for unconventinal and new power sources. What I remember is what the farm was about was trying to find ways to harvest largers amounts of algae, but I could be wrong.
*guess there could be a system where you could farm said algae?
 

NathanD

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The wood powered car sounds like an idea , I watched a video on it once and it looks feasible compared to petroleum .


The Planet Mechanics , they make some interesting stuff .
 
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