The purpose of this guide is to present a method to tame the Hydrogen Vent in a simple way that can be built with mid-game technologies and materials. Simplicity, reliability and low-cost are the focus of this design.
How to Tame the Hydrogen Vent
Hydrogen Vents produce a stream of hydrogen gas that can be conveniently used to generate electricity, clean and efficiently. However, the hydrogen is expelled from the vent at a very high temperature (up to 500C) which makes it a challenge to take advantage of this source of renewable energy.
The purpose of this guide is to present a method to tame the Hydrogen Vent in a simple way that can be built with mid-game technologies and materials. Simplicity, reliability and low cost are the main focus of this design and also the advantage compared to other designs available on the web.
Note that this method is intended to be “simple” and, thus enable players to take advantage of the Hydrogen Vent at a mid-stage of the game. This is not intended to be an “ultimate” design that achieves some sort of perfection in perpetuity: you may want to explore other designs if that’s your goal.
The basic design of this method is shown above: the Hydrogen Vent is enclosed in a room with a steel Gas Pump; this Hydrogen Vent is very typical and can produce enough gas to feed two Hydrogen Generators. How we protect the pump from overheating will be explained later.
The following image shows the gas ducting for this design. The gas filter on top is a necessity when you first start this system (and gases other than hydrogen are present in the enclosure), but later on only hydrogen will be left inside the enclosure, so you can then eliminate the filter.
Protecting the Gas Pump
The Gas Pump is made of steel, which increases its over-heat temperature to 275C, but the gas expelled by the vent is hotter, so if left unprotected the Gas Pump will eventually reach overheating temperature.
To protect the Gas Pump, we build a small web of Radiating Pipes (made out of steel) that cocoon the Gas Pump. A constant stream of “cool” water flows from the top, enters the web and absorbs heat from the hot Hydrogen Gas, then exits the web, keeping the pump operating within the acceptable temperature range.
The next image shows how the Gas Pump is protected by this web of cool water. Note the lower temperature at the core of the web compared to the rest of the gas in the enclosure. This web of pipes may seem odd, but it does the job; you may want to explore a different web design (i.e., a coil-like web) and see if that works better for you.
The “hotter” water returns in the pipe and exchanges its heat with a large pool of water, thus lowering its temperature before it enters the Liquid Reservoir and loops again in a perpetual cycle. In effect, we are “moving” the heat from the very hot hydrogen gas to this large pool of water.
In my case, this pool of water was readily available, as the vapor vent shown there vented and condensed water from the very start of the game. This water (at 70C) was too hot for agricultural use, so I never used until I figured I could use it for this purpose.
You may use a different pool of water for this purpose. For example, you can use a pool of polluted water available somewhere else in your map.
Why This Works
Without going into complex calculations, this system works because we are pumping water at a rate of 10kg/s and water’s specific heat is 4.179; whereas the Hydrogen Vent produces gas at an average rate of 0.1kg/s and hydrogen’s specific heat is 2.4. And then we transfer whatever heat from the hydrogen to a pool with literally tons of water.
So, because we have a (relatively) gigantic mass of water with twice the specific heat, the water can comfortably absorb the heat from the hot hydrogen.
The image below shows the gas pump working at a comfortable temperature of 93.4C.
There’s no maintenance or servicing involved. Once you setup the system, it runs on its own. When the Hydrogen Vent starts erupting gas, the Gas Pump will pump the hydrogen to the generators. The cooling web keeps the pump at an acceptable operating temperature, and the Liquid Reservoir keeps the water looping without the need of pumps, valves or automation.
The (Very) Long Run
So, if we are merely moving the heat from the hot hydrogen created by the vent to the large pool of water, even all that water will eventually reach boiling point and evaporate – right?
Well, that’s right, depending on how large is your pool of water, the mass will eventually reach boiling point. Exactly when is this going to happen is a question… for some time in the distant future.
See, my pool of water started at a temperature of something like 70C, and currently, after more than 422 cycles, stands at 81.5C. Therefore, this system in particular will probably serve for at least another 400 cycles, and then I will have to furnish a new pool of water.
Also note that I am using water as “coolant” in the pipes, which will likely boil over first inside the pipes as the pool reaches the evaporation point. If I use Polluted Water or Petroleum instead, I could increase/maximize the amount of cycles I can get out of this pool.
The presented method is a simple and low-cost design will enable you to tame a Hydrogen Vent using mid-game technology. While not a perfect design, this method will allow you to take advantage of Hydrogen power at an early stage of the game and enjoy trouble-free performance for hundreds of cycles.