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In version 0.15.0, Steam Turbines were added to the game. They are significantly more powerful than steam engines (1 steam turbine is equal to ~10.5 steam engines), but I'm finding it difficult to keep them running at 100% power.

To even reach the maximum available performance for steam turbines, you need to use nuclear power and heat exchangers. The heat exchangers use heat produced by the nuclear reactor to make steam at very high temperatures. From my observations, the exchangers need to be running at at least 500 °C to produce steam (the maximum is 1000 °C). Anything lower than 500 °C, and the turbines will not run. I've also noticed two things with nuclear power:

  • The farther the heat exchanger is from the reactor, the cooler the temperatures will be.
  • Tampering with the heat pipes will case the temperatures to change temporarily as the heat attempts to catch up.

I'm able to get my turbines running at maximum efficiency when there is enough power on my grid already, but I am expanding my factory, and my expansion is starting to consume too much power. When this happens, the turbines fail to continue to run at maximum. They appear to consume their steam faster for some reason, and end up only being able to perform at about 60% their potential.

My setup includes two nuclear reactors that are connected with heat pipes and are always running to produce enough heat. Right now, the exchangers are in the 600+ °C range so I should have enough heat to be making steam.

Setup

How can I always keep them running at maximum power? Better yet, steam turbines can be linked together like steam engines, but doing this almost always ruins the performance of the turbines. How can I do this as well?

  • You need to produce more steam; your turbines are consuming your available steam faster because you're drawing more power. – Frank May 22 '17 at 13:25
  • @Frank I'll have to try that, though I thought I was making enough steam already. I think that by adding more exchangers it lowers the temps, and that'll cause everything not to run. I suppose I would have to make another reactor (or 2) if that's the case as well. Would the system need to be connected? Or would having a separate nuclear facility that is not connected to this one work? – Timmy Jim May 22 '17 at 13:28
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    Another possible point of failure is the water supply. One offshore pump creates 1200 units of water per second and a steam turbine consumes 60 units per second when on full load. That means one offshore pump can supply 20 steam turbines. I am counting 23 turbines on your screenshot, so one pump won't be enough. – Philipp May 22 '17 at 13:41
  • @Philipp I have 3 offshore pump lines that are dedicated specifically for the nuke facility (you can see where the enter the facility on left edge of the picture where the 3 small pumps are). – Timmy Jim May 22 '17 at 13:49
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    I want to reiterate the top point in Kevin's answer - nuclear reactors get a neighbor bonus for touching other reactors, so you can instantly get a huge boost in heat output for just shifting one over by two tiles. There's some detailed analysis of nuclear reactors here which you may find useful. – Chris Hayes May 22 '17 at 17:35
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It's hard to say where the bottleneck is because you haven't shown any of the mouseover info displays for the turbines, exchangers, and pipes, but here's some general advice:

  • First of all, your setup is missing the bonus for multiple nuclear reactors. You must place them exactly adjacent to each other, with no intervening heat pipes. Once you do so, you will have exactly twice as much heat produced.

  • Try to avoid cross-connecting heat pipes — each one should be a direct line from reactor to heat exchanger, and the only time three or more pipes should meet is if you're branching to feed more than one heat exchanger. (I'm not sure how much this will help, and it might change in the future, but my understanding is that in current versions heat pipes work pretty much like fluid pipes.)

  • Simularly, make sure that the water pipelines are not cross-connected — for each offshore pump there should be a group of exchangers using its water with no overlap with other pumps. If there are cross-connections then water may flow in useless directions, reducing flow in the useful direction.

  • In general, not enough offshore pumps can mean not enough water, but you don't have enough heat exchangers to need more than one, here. But you didn't show how many you have, so maybe adding a second one if you have only one might help if your water pipeline is not too efficient.

steam turbines can be linked together like steam engines, but doing this almost always ruins the performance of the turbines.

This just means that you don't have enough steam in that pipe to feed that many turbines. The total output will always be the same or better — there are no losses in a heat/steam system, only flow bottlenecks.

  • There are 3 offshore pumps - but from all the comments and this answer, it seems there's a bottleneck in the system. I'm going to attempt the things you stated once I can get on the game later, and report what happens. – Timmy Jim May 22 '17 at 15:44
  • I used this link posted by Chris Hayes in the question comments and it appears to be working well. I now have two nuclear facilities, each with 3 reactors for 28 heat exchangers and 28 turbines each and they appear to all run at 100% when the power demand exceeds my production. Thanks for the tips. – Timmy Jim May 24 '17 at 17:46
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This is an older question, but your 2nd steam turbines are always going to be limited because the heat exchanger only can create 10MW worth of steam - but each steam turbine is 5.8MW capacity. So the second turbine will always be limited to only 4.2MW production.

You can get around that by having more heat exchangers and a "shared" steam process between them.

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