Solar Panel based power system

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PsiTraveller
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Solar Panel based power system

Postby PsiTraveller » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:42 am

From High Guard
If the panels are fitted to a ship without a power plant,
then assume the (non–existent) power plant is sized
to the ship’s basic systems and a Thrust 1 manoeuvre
drive. A ship equipped with solar panels consumes
power plant fuel at one–quarter the normal rate so long
as it is only engaged in minimal manoeuvring and does
not fire any weapons. Minimal manoeuvring does not
include long periods at full thrust, so solar power alone
is useless for most commercial and military vessels.
No power plant fuel is consumed, and endurance is
considered infinite, if the ship is not manoeuvring or
refining fuel. Jump drives cannot be engaged with solar
panels deployed.

I am trying to build a station that does not use hydrogen, all power comes from solar panels. The odd thing is when I do the math I do not see why the line for refining fuel is in the description.
Assume a 100 ton ship. Basic power will be 20. Thrust 1 will be 10, so 3 points in total. 2 tons of TL 12 power plant will produce the 30 power needed. ).2 tons of solar panels would cover that. Assuming the 20 power runs basic systems, the 10 extra power would be enough to run a 1 power fuel processor (assuming the station was no moving). Another option would be to put in more panels and have extra power. A battery to store extra power could solve issues as well.

Has anyone designed a solar processing facility that is parked in a good solar area and churns out power? Anyone else looked at a hydrogen free economy?
ShawnDriscoll
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:16 am

Solar power is fine for keeping the lights on.
PsiTraveller
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby PsiTraveller » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:50 pm

I am looking at the infinite fuel as long as not refining fuel section. Why is refining fuel so energy intensive? It has a power draw of 1, easily covered by a panel and battery system. (1 Power is 6 power and hour). A single battery could supply that fr 10 hours. Get 3 batteries and you have more than 24 hours of power.

Other options include processing of asteroids at a solar powered module. THe solar array would be very large, but for long term automated systems would be an excellent option.

I am just not seeing the difficulty in powering things in systems that are stationary. Solar panels and high speed manoeuvering issues I get, but not a stationary facility.
tytalan
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby tytalan » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:40 am

Refining fuel means breaking the water into H2 andO2 the separateing the two. But the problem is that most of the time your not dealing with pure water to start with so you have to distill the water first and if its ice it has to be gathered and melted and that just what comes to mind off the top of my head.
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby tytalan » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:43 am

As for solar panels remember the farther from the sun the weaker the draw the more panels you need plus solar panels are inherently damage attractors so need constant repairs.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby AnotherDilbert » Fri Sep 15, 2017 8:38 am

A solar "panel" backup system provades minimum power, but it is also very small at 10% of the corresponding fusion plant.

You could reasonably get ample power by using a larger solar power plant.

To get the amount of power implied it would have to be a thin film with a minimum structure to keep it flat and pointed to the local star. As tytalan points out it would be extremely flimsy.

The wake from a reaction drive, or potentially even gravitic drive, would easily tear it apart.

Spacecraft operation close to the station would have to be tightly controlled.
paltrysum
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby paltrysum » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:49 pm

I'm thinking about a big colony ship. The thing's primary purpose is to jump two parsecs. It might even have manuever 0 and just let shuttles come pick up the colonists. Is it feasible to build such a craft with solar panels as its sole source of power?
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
EldritchFire
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby EldritchFire » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:39 pm

paltrysum wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:49 pm
I'm thinking about a big colony ship. The thing's primary purpose is to jump two parsecs. It might even have manuever 0 and just let shuttles come pick up the colonists. Is it feasible to build such a craft with solar panels as its sole source of power?
With adequate batteries to power the jump drive, sure.

Remember that it outputs enough power for basic power and M-1. Using no M-drive, you can bank the excess power in batteries and use them to power the J-drive. Heck, with enough batteries, you could power the M-drive! Accelerate, coast while your batteries recharge, rinse and repeat.

Now I find you'll excuse me, I have to go figure out how to do this for an in-system ferry!
Currently working on a Star Wars conversion for Traveller 2e! Details here.
tytalan
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby tytalan » Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:31 am

Check out battle tech jump ships that will give you an ideal of the size of a solar panels set powerful enough to transport any number of people even jump 2. Doable but not effective
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby Jeraa » Sat Sep 16, 2017 5:41 am

paltrysum wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:49 pm
I'm thinking about a big colony ship. The thing's primary purpose is to jump two parsecs. It might even have manuever 0 and just let shuttles come pick up the colonists. Is it feasible to build such a craft with solar panels as its sole source of power?
Where are you getting power during the week in jump? Solar panels wouldn't work (no sun) and batteries take up a large area for any decent duration. For example, a 100 ton ship with only the basic power draw (20 Power, can be reduced to 10 by shutting some stuff down) would get 3 hours of use out of a single ton of TL 12 batteries (6 hours at the reduced rate). To get through the week of jump, you would need 168 hours of duration, or 56 tons of batteries (or only 28 tons if restrict the ship to the reduced rate). TL10 batteries are worse - 84 tons of batteries for normal power, or 42 tons for the reduced rate. So a good portion of your ship would just be a massive battery for the week in jump. Not counting the large portion that is jump fuel (though that could be mitigated by drop tanks).

Or, you install a fusion plant. 3 tons (2 tons plant, 1 ton fuel) can provide the basic power necessary for 4 weeks. If you go with the reduced power draw, you can drop it to 2 tons for the same duration. Even the worst power plant (the TL 7 chemical plant) is better, At the reduced power rate (10 instead of 20), you need a 2 ton power plant and 20 tons of fuel, which lasts 2 weeks/ You only need half that, so 10 tons of fuel (or a total of 12 tons to provide power for the week).

Bigger ships would require bigger plants/batteries. The same general outcome would be the same, however. Your ship would basically be a flying battery if that is how you are going to provide power during jump.

Edit: My math if off. I didn't account for the number of turns per hour (10). Multiply all battery tonnages by 10. Basically, it is impossible to run a ship on batteries during the week in jump. You need a power plant of some sort.
Last edited by Jeraa on Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:56 pm

paltrysum wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:49 pm
I'm thinking about a big colony ship. The thing's primary purpose is to jump two parsecs. It might even have manuever 0 and just let shuttles come pick up the colonists. Is it feasible to build such a craft with solar panels as its sole source of power?
You need power though the entire jump with some margin, supplied by batteries.

A 100 Dt ship needs 20 basic Power. A jump lasts 168 h ± 10%, so you need power for at least 200 h.
1 h is 10 turns, so 200 h is 2000 turns. A TL12 battery holds enough energy to produce 60 Power for 1 turn, or 20 Power for 3 turns. You need 2000 / 3 ≈ 670 Dt batteries to last the entire jump. Clearly that will not fit.
paltrysum
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby paltrysum » Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:04 pm

Good points, Jeraa. The main concern would be expense, not tonnage. I haven't run the numbers yet, but if given up space for batteries is significantly cheaper, I imagine it could be economically sensible. Gotta spreadsheet it.
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
Jeraa
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby Jeraa » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:36 pm

paltrysum wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:04 pm
Good points, Jeraa. The main concern would be expense, not tonnage. I haven't run the numbers yet, but if given up space for batteries is significantly cheaper, I imagine it could be economically sensible. Gotta spreadsheet it.
Please note my math is off. It takes a battery larger than the ship itself to provide enough power to get through the week in jump. Tonnage is the problem. Even at the absolute best (using TL 12 batteries, and running the ship at half basic power of 10 points), a 100 ton ship would need 280 tons of batteries for that week. Impossible.
PsiTraveller
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Batteries and ships

Postby PsiTraveller » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:23 pm

Leaving the slar panel idea behind, batteries and ships are very useful in my opinion.

I've added batteries to ships to improve combat capacity on small ships. Running a Drinax campaign with bouts of small ship combat has led me to think that a small trade ship could use an upgrade of a turret weapon and a battery.Most ships could use a power redesign with a ton or so of batteries to save on fuel usage and Power Plant costs.

The express boat has just enough power plant to run basic systems (20 Power). The Jump drive is powered by 40 points of battery storage. Personally spending an extra 100 000 credits to tech improve power production by 10 percent would allow the express boat to power up the battery itself and arrive ready to go, just waiting on fuel. Granted the fuel ship can power the battery as it fuels the ship, I'm just being a battery nerd.

The A-2 Far Trader is definitely ripe for batteries. Power production 75 Points: Power usage of M-Drive, Basic and Sensors is 61 points. Jump Drive needs 40. So no M Drive while readying for Jump. Adding 1 ton of batteries would allow for a Jump if a fast getaway was needed.
More importantly the A-2 could use the battery for combat support. With 14 points of power left over from the power plant the weapon selection is limited. Players would want to add a couple of turrets and some weapons. Two Double Turrets with Pulse Lasers would add 18 points of demand to the power system. An extra ton of battery would allow full combat for 15 turns (4 point shortfall into 60 point battery) . This would allow a Far Trader to pack a heck of a punch for 90 minutes of combat, far longer than most combats I've run.

The addition of batteries allows Q-ships to mount very powerful weapons they cannot fire for long, just long enough to hammer their opponents. Small ships having barbettes offers shorter duration but higher intensity fights using Fusion, Particle of Plasma weapons for example.
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby paltrysum » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:36 pm

Thanks for running the numbers. That's a bummer. I'm trying to create a "throwaway" colonial ship. One that's used for several back-and-forth trips, picking up colonists from Albe and dropping them off on Cordillon, and then the ships are stripped for their parts. I was hoping there would be a cheap alternative to the standard starship configuration that would justify such an approach.
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby Jeraa » Mon Sep 18, 2017 12:01 am

paltrysum wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:36 pm
Thanks for running the numbers. That's a bummer. I'm trying to create a "throwaway" colonial ship. One that's used for several back-and-forth trips, picking up colonists from Albe and dropping them off on Cordillon, and then the ships are stripped for their parts. I was hoping there would be a cheap alternative to the standard starship configuration that would justify such an approach.
You can still use a fusion plant with that concept. The colonists do need a source of power. No reason that couldn't be the fusion plant taken from the ship.
PsiTraveller
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby PsiTraveller » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:05 am

There was a mention of single use Jump Drives in the Drinax campaign book. pg 160 of book 2

One-shot Jump Drives
A product of desperate shipyards, jump drives can be
constructed to be used just once. With many corners cut
in both design and manufacture, it is a brave Traveller
who entrusts their voyage and life to these drives, but
they provide very cheap access to the stars. Though they
are coined ‘one-shot’ jump drives, the truly freckles can
push their operation into additional jumps.
A one-shot jump drive is identical to those listed on
page 14 of High Guard, with the following changes.
• Total tonnage consumed is reduced by 20% (the
minimum of 10 tons still applies)
• Cost is reduced by 75%
Using a one-shot jump drive imposes DM-2 to Engineer
(J-drive) checks. If the jump drive is used a second time,
this increases to DM-4, and for a third time it increases to
DM-8. No one will survive a fourth jump with these drives.

The ships would then be dismatled at the destination for use in the growing colony. This could work if you were looking for a simple method of sending folks on a one way journey.

If you want a reusable ship go with budget drives and increased tonnage, power of jump diameter limitation to build cheaper engines.
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby Reynard » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:35 pm

2300AD is really into colonization. A concept used there are modular ships that carry colonial modules dropped from orbit with heat shields and systems to land. The colonists use these passenger and freight transports as their first structures making full use of all material. More modules can be sent as the colony needs them. The ship is a reusable hauler good for a variety of roles other than colony transport missions and that makes it more cost effective than a throw away. A colonial agency charters the haulers from a transport corporation. Much cheaper than building your own.
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby phavoc » Mon Sep 18, 2017 4:50 pm

PsiTraveller wrote:
Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:05 am
There was a mention of single use Jump Drives in the Drinax campaign book. pg 160 of book 2

(snip) the truly freckles can (snip)
Is that a direct copy from the book? If so I'm assuming freckles should have been reckless???
PsiTraveller
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Re: Solar Panel based power system

Postby PsiTraveller » Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:32 pm

lol, will transfer freckles to reckless to the typo thread. :)

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