I played a bit with the new Reactor Pressure Vessel multiblock. Why use it? This multiblock gets you two times the energy after conversion from heat to EU than most equivalent direct EU setups.
Picture: The new 5x5 IC² Reactor
Building the 5x5 reactor vessel (Reactor Pressure Vessel Blocks, Access Hatch, Redstone Port and some Fluid Ports) around a full 6-chamber reactor gives you a new GUI and enables the new cooling mechanics without reconfiguring. The GUI is mostly familiar, but has slots to insert and take up coolant with cells (preferably Universal Fluid cells). It has a new graphic for heat, which appears as blue horizontal lines growing red from right to left.
The whole power-train goes: Fluid Port > Liquid Heat Exchanger > Steam Generator > Turbine > Kinetic Generator > EU cable or storage. This should produce
1.28 EU per 2 hU, but in practice, I'm only seeing about 1.15 average.
Alternatively, you could go: Fluid Port > LHE > Stirling Generator > EU cable or storage. This produces
1 EU per 2hU. This setup is simpler and still produces significantly more EU than a reactor without the multiblock.
When placing internal components and external Liquid Heat Exchangers, you must consider the following:
- Venting components are the key to transforming Core temp into hU/t. If you don't have enough venting components, the hU/t will not be high enough to keep the core temp neutral.
- If the hU/t is too low, all the vents in the world won't matter: Core temp will increase because it has nowhere to go
- If your hot/cold coolant gets clogged or bottle-necked somewhere, the hU/t will drop
- You can use liquid ejector modules in both the Fluid port and the Liquid Exchanger to use one Fluid Port for both extraction of hot coolant and deposit of cooled fluid
- Critical: If your steam generator fully calcifies, or your turbine breaks while you are relying on a closed steam/distilledwater cycle, your reactor will overheat
You can now use multiple heaters to power a steam generator, but be wary of overheating the steam generator: It explodes around 500C.
Once you get steam from the steam gen, you run it through a Turbine and Kinetic Generator to produce EU. The Steam Generator will calcify over time (the block disappears at 100%), but Condensers and Turbines produce distilled water, which can then be used in a closed cycle to eliminate calcification.
Building this multiblock has an additional benefit: If you accidentally leave it and it overheats, if the Redstone Port is not directly adjacent to the reactor inside, as soon as one of the Pressure Vessel Blocks turns to lava, the multi-block will break, and signal will no longer keep the reactor on, essentially making it explosion-resistant for mostly-stable setups.
While there are currently no basic pipes in IC² (the fluid regulators could be chained to make expensive EU-powered pipes), you don't need any other mods than IC² to make all this run. A mod that adds pipes can give you additional flexibility (BC pipes work, but can't handle the steam output). I suspect the Reactor Hatch can be used for inventory automation, and you can use multiple hatches. I have not checked for compatibility of IC² steam with Railcraft/GT steam.
*** LHE now goes to 200/200, so LHE might be 1:1, contrary to this data*** A Liquid Heat Exchanger processes 2 times the hU/t that it seems to indicate it does (A 100/100 Liquid Heat Exchanger can keep a 200hU/t reactor cool, 2 100/100 LHE's can keep a 400hU/t cool).
The minimum amount of liquid in a Steam Generator required to produce steam that flows into a turbine: 11mb (this allows distilled water to return to the steam gen very early, resulting in only .01% calcification).
A full Steam Gen recieving
200/200 heat and no water input can fully power at least 5 turbines (but there is no way in default IC2 or buildcraft to route that much steam to more turbines, with the 6-sides-per-block limitation).