I’m in the process of creating a more efficient oil processing system in Minecraft / Gregtech 5U. I need liquid propane and naphtha to make teflon, and I’m going with a multi-step process that involves cracking heavy fuel, converting it to light fuel, cracking the light fuel, and then converting that to propane and naphtha. The cracking steps should multiply my final output by about 3.8x compared to just going straight for oil -> propane and oil -> naphtha. As a side effect I can leach off light fuel for my power plant before cracking it, which should give me about a 1.8x improvement in my oil -> nitro diesel production.
It’s only possible because I’m pumping heavy oil from the ground. It converts efficiently to heavy fuel, and the basic oil I got from centrifuging oilsand doesn’t. That, and the oil-cracking units are energy hungry multi-block machines that cost around 200 stainless steel each, which is another reason I didn’t attempt this before.
Anyway, the hard part of actually placing the machines has been something I’ve done a couple of times before, which is setting up the de-sulfuration of the heavy fuel. A canner fills containers with hydrogen from a pipe, feeds that to the de-sulfurizing chemical reactor, which pumps fuel out and hands off hydrogen sulfide containers to another chemical reactor, which combines the H2S with water to make sulfuric acid and returns the empty containers to the first two machines. The sulfuric acid is more-or-less a waste product, but I can cleanly dispose of it in another part of my base by making temporary lead-acid batteries.
Connecting the three machines doesn’t sound complicated, but it is, and it gives me a bit of a headache every time I re-approach the problem, even though I’ve solved it before. There’s a bunch of stuff flowing in (electricity, sulfuric fuel, water, hydrogen), stuff flowing out (treated fuel, sulfuric acid), and stuff swapping back and forth (empty containers, hydrogen containers, hydrogen sulfide containers). The empty containers have to go to two destinations, and have to combine with the pipeline for hydrogen containers, and I have to prevent the filled hydrogen containers from looping back to the hydrogen canner along with the empties the hydrogen canner needs. The pipes also have a tendency to get in the way of other pipes.
It’s a bit like one of those Infinifactory puzzles. While there’s no manipulation of objects, it’s a “make it fit” problem, preferably in a compact arrangement.
This is what it currently looks like. I’ve slapped a bunch of temporary signs on it while working on it, just to keep straight in my head what does what. I’ve also color-coded the pipes, so black = incoming oil, blue = incoming water, white = incoming hydrogen, and orange = outgoing sulfuric acid. There’s power cable under the floor, and more pipes behind the machines.