Dyson Sphere Program – Chemistry & Resources Guide

Dyson Sphere Program – Chemistry & Resources Guide 1 - steamlists.com
Dyson Sphere Program – Chemistry & Resources Guide 1 - steamlists.com

A guide about chemistry in DSP, teaching you all you need to know


Welcome, chemistry lovers!
In this guide, we will discuss chemistry in DSP. Specifically, we will discuss the processes and resources consumed or created by the refinery and the chemical plant. This guide will mostly revolve around a few key resources: oil, refined oil, coal, graphite, and hydrogen, but we will sometimes encounter other resources, such as water, sulfuric acid, stone, plastic, organic crystals, graphene, and carbon nanotubes.


Oil is an infinite resource in DSP, extracted from oil seeps. It can be found on the original planet, and on a lot of planets with water and plants. It is the basic component of all chemistry.
In terms of recipes, oil has exactly one use: to be turned into refined oil in a refinery. Thus, there’s no reason to think too much; just convert all of your oil this way.
Although you could burn oil directly in a thermal power station (TPS), refining it first produces more energetic products as a result (2 oil = 8.10MJ, versus 2 refined oil + 1 hydrogen = 18MJ), so make sure to refine it first if you want to use this energy source

Refined oil

Refined oil is the main ingredient in chemistry. It is involved in almost every single recipe. Refined oil can be obtained two ways: either from plasma refining, which produces two refined oil and one hydrogen from two oil, or from reformation refining, which consumes two refined oil, one hydrogen and one coal to produce three refined oil or, in net, consumes one coal and one hydrogen to produce one refined oil.
Note that the output from plasma refining and the input for reformation refining are the same, as well as the processing speed. This means that, by linking directly one plasma refining refinery to one reformation refining refinery, and supplying the former with oil and the latter with coal, you can 0.75 refined oil per second for 0.5 oil and 0.25 coal and, most importantly, get rid of this pesky hydrogen. More on that later!

Oilless chemistry

The new reformation refining technology gives us a brand new opportunity: since it consumes coal and hydrogen to produce refined oil, we can actually do chemistry directly from those two without the need for oil. Hydrogen is extremely easy to come by as soon as you have access to orbital collectors, and you will probably quickly drown in it. As for coal, every single planet contains one patch of coal, although pretty small. Coal can be found on many planet types, so you shouldn’t have too hard of a time collecting a lot of it.
I personally don’t think that this is very useful. I’d rather use the 2 oil:1 coal ratio to produce refined oil, since I never found that oil was really hard to find, but it is up to you!

Getting rid of hydrogen

Hydrogen is not a resource; it is waste. A lot of chemical processes produce hydrogen, namely:

  • Plasma refining
  • X-ray cracking
  • Graphene production from fire ice

The easiest way to get rid of hydrogen is to burn it. Just use a few TPS, each of them can burn 0.3 hydrogen/s. I must warn you against this solution. It has, I believe, two flaws.
Let’s assume, for example, that you produce refined oil and hydrogen through plasma refining, and you want to get rid of the hydrogen and you built an array of TPS to consume it. If your energy production exceeds 100%, your TPS will start to run more slowly, and thus hydrogen will start to build up, which could ultimately clog the entire system. So if you do that, make sure to, at least, build extra TPS, to be able to burn the extra hydrogen in case they slow down. If, instead, you rely on this energy source for your factory, as soon as you have produced enough refined oil, the refining will stop, which will stop the hydrogen production, which will in turn tank your energy production. One way or another, this setup is instable.
Instead, I advocate for the recycling of hydrogen, to make sure it is always consumed as fast as it is produced. For plasma refining, use reformation refining to consume the hydrogen and produce more refined oil instead, this can only benefit you. For X-ray cracking, well, just don’t use X-ray cracking. This recipe is awesome for producing red cubes, as it produces exactly one graphite for each hydrogen (more on that later), but, otherwise, it is pretty useless. If you need graphite, make it from coal directly instead. The recycling of hydrogen from fire ice will be discussed in the appendix.
One very last way to deal with hydrogen is to store it in tanks and forget about it. Be careful though, as this temporary fix will come back at you sooner or later. A single yellow belt can fill a liquid tank in less than 30 minutes.

Feedback loops

Both x-ray cracking, and reformation refining involve feeding back the output into the machine. Note that the refinery doesn’t do that alone. Make sure you always have a simple system for feeding back hydrogen for x-ray cracking and refined oil for reformation refining.
This implies that you also need to manually start your refinery up, by putting some initial hydrogen inside of it, for example. Be careful not to forget it, and end up with a completely useless refinery.
I usually design my plants with a kind of ignition chain, that is each refinery starts the next one. This way I only need to start the first one and then everything goes smoothly.

Red cubes

Although not directly produced in a chemistry-related building, red cubes are, without a doubt, “chemistry cube”, since each only requires two graphite and two hydrogen.
Since you need a few red cubes to unlock x-ray cracking and reformation refining, you will need to setup a temporary production of them, using plasma refining to produce hydrogen, smelters and coal to produce graphite, and most probably storing the refined oil in a tank.
As soon as you unlock x-ray cracking, you can convert your refined oil into equal quantities of graphite and hydrogen, for more red cubes production. This time, hydrogen will slowly build up.
When, in turn, you unlock reformation refining, you can finally create a balanced production line. Using plasma refining, you can convert crude oil into refined oil; then, with one extra coal, you can recycle the hydrogen for one more refined oil, and, finally, crack the refined oil to obtain graphite and hydrogen in a balanced manner. You will need three cracking refineries for one plasma refining refinery and one reformation refining refinery. Each red cube will also cost you 4/3 oil and 2/3 coal.


Plastic is a widely used component, made from two refined oil and one graphite. If you make the graphite in a smelter, plastic will cost you 4/3 oil and 8/3 coal in total. It will be necessary for both the yellow cube (2 per cube) and the purple cube (1 per cube), so get ready to produce a lot of it.

Organic crystals, Sulfuric acid, Graphene and Nanotubes

These last four chemical products are the most advanced, and they will require bigger setups to produce. They also have in common to be obtainable through a simpler way as you advance in the game and explore new systems, so that you should quickly get rid of the complicated chemical processes for much simpler ones.
Namely, organic crystals can be directly harvested from veins on planets with plants and trees (and also the need for organic crystals when crafting casimir crystals can be subsituted with optical grating crystals), sulfuric acid can be directly pumped from lakes on some planets using a simple water pump, graphene can be produced in large quantities from fire ice, and nanotubes can be produced from spiniform crystals.
I would thus recommand, and this is a general piece of advice, to try to unlock warping as quickly as possible, and then begin collecting rare ressources. Those will make your life so much easier!
Nonetheless, using standard recipes:

  • 1 Sulfuric acid costs 4 oil, 2 coal, 8 stone and 4 water
  • 1 Graphene costs 2 oil, 4 coal, 4 stone and 2 water
  • 1 Nanotube costs 3 oil, 6 coal, 6 stone, 3 water and 0.5 titanium ingot
  • 1 organic crystal costs 10/3 oil, 17/3 coal and 1 water


Appendix: recycling hydrogen from fire ice

Since graphene is a key component in making solar sail, you should end up producing a lot of it from fire ice, and you’ll soon have to deal with all of the excess hydrogen.
I personally use a rather original recycling strategy: turn it into casimir crystals.
Casimir crystals have a lot of qualities in this context. First of all, you will need them anyway, to make chips. Second, each crystal consumes 12 hydrogen in total, which is a lot. Even if the crystals themselves are not consumed, it will take a lot of time for them to clog the system, unlike the hydrogen. Thirdly, you already have almost everything on site: casimir crystals require 12 hydrogen, 2 graphene and either 8 optical grating crystals or 1 titanium crystal. All you have to do is to adapt your graphene production line a little bit to import some titanium crystals, and export casimir crystals in return! Given that one casimir crystal assembler consumes 3 hydrogen per second, when a chemical plant making graphene produces 0.5 hydrogen per second, you will need one casimir assembler per 6 chemical plants.

Written by thomas.sepulchre

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