Space Engineers Basic Refinery Quick Facts + Energy Usage Info

Space Engineers Basic Refinery Quick Facts + Energy Usage Info 1 -
Space Engineers Basic Refinery Quick Facts + Energy Usage Info 1 -

Why the Basic Refinery sucks

Why this guide?

I kept seeing people rely on the Basic Refinery as their first best choice to deal with stone that accumulates during mining short of just sorting and ejecting it out of sight, and not just in the humble beginnings of the starter base but as a permanent solution.
And because this is bad and wrong, I’ve wielded the magic power of spreadsheets to let the world know exactly why and where and how, once and for all.
But mostly, in case my propensity for overexuberantly excessive hyperboles has clouded that purpose, it is to have a reliable listing of actual tests and test results, something you can actually refer to instead of just vaguely knowing from hearsay or estimation. I realise and appreciate people have individual playstyles and preferences, can and will encounter individual challenges for which one solution is more attractive or convenient than another, or just don’t mind, so by all means build and play however you want.

Quick facts

There are three blocks in SE that refine stone to ingots. Each has its own immediately obvious pros and cons:

  • Pro: Refines everything, including what’s needed to build more (obviously)
  • Pro: Performance can be tuned with upgrades to suit situation (anyone using anything else but Yield for only a second longer than needed to get the power supply in order is a fool and should be banned from playing any computer game for the rest of their existence)
  • Con: XBOX HUEG
  • Con: Expensive

So, with the Basic Refinery apparently having no immediate cons, why the fuss?


1. Observation

There are three significantly different blocks that are capable of the same job. They have different sizes, costs, performance properties, and names that hint at their specialisation, or lack thereof.

2. Question

Are they still equivalent in their performance at converting stone to ingots?

3. Hypothesis

Probably not.

4. Prediction

They are likely to be more efficient the more specialised they are.

5. Test

Now this is where things get interesting.
Here’s our test setup.

  • Timer 1 turns on the refining block and starts Timer 2.
  • Timer 2 turns off the battery after 600 seconds, shutting down the entire rig.
    (That’s 10 minutes for you weirdos still counting in body parts and cereal grains.)


Test results: Energy usage

Energy started with Energy remaining Energy used
Unit kWh kWh kWh
Survival Kit 900 866.58 33.42
Basic Refinery 900 844.85 55.15
Refinery, 0 Yield modules 900 805.88 94.12
Refinery, 1 Yield module 900 806.40 93.60
Refinery, 2 Yield modules 900 806.66 93.34
Refinery, 3 Yield modules 900 806.40 93.60
Refinery, 4 Yield modules 900 806.40 93.60

Space Engineers Basic Refinery Quick Facts + Energy Usage Info - Test results: Energy usage - 47CC0E8
So, the Basic Refinery sits between the Survival Kit and the standard Refinery. But without seeing what it actually did with that energy in those ten minutes, that’s not really saying anything yet.
Also, there is some measurement noise in the consumption for the Refinery.
Bonus observation: Speaking of the Refinery, using Yield modules doesn’t actually increase energy consumption. Bug? Lazy Keen implementation? Intention? Who knows. At least those naysayers who use anything other than Yield modules on Refineries now have one excuse fewer.

Test results: Stone consumption

Stone started with Stone remaining Stone consumed Consumption rate
Unit kg kg kg kg/s
Survival Kit 100,000.0 46,000.0 54,000.0 90.00
Basic Refinery 100,000.0 62,560.0 37,440.0 62.40
Refinery, 0 Yield modules 100,000.0 24,371.2 75,628.8 126.05
Refinery, 1 Yield module 100,000.0 25,120.0 74,880.0 124.80
Refinery, 2 Yield modules 100,000.0 25,120.0 74,880.0 124.80
Refinery, 3 Yield modules 100,000.0 25,120.0 74,880.0 124.80
Refinery, 4 Yield modules 100,000.0 25,120.0 74,880.0 124.80

Space Engineers Basic Refinery Quick Facts + Energy Usage Info - Test results: Stone consumption - EB752F3
Well, well, well, will you look at that. It was pretty plausible from the start that the Basic Refinery would be slower than the dedicated big brother, but that it managed to be slower than the Survival Kit still, and by a massive margin at that, is a surprise. One should think a block at least notionally more specialised in refining ought to deliver at least somewhat more attractive performance figures.
That the Refinery with zero upgrade modules scores a smidgen slower is likely just measurement noise again.

Test results: Efficiency A

Note, efficiency is in Wh/kg, not kWh/kg, to keep the numbers short.

Energy used Stone consumed Energy efficiency
Unit kWh kg Wh/kg
Survival Kit 33.42 54,000.0 0.619
Basic Refinery 55.15 37,440.0 1.473
Refinery, 0 Yield modules 94.12 75,628.8 1.244
Refinery, 1 Yield module 93.60 74,880.0 1.250
Refinery, 2 Yield modules 93.34 74,880.0 1.247
Refinery, 3 Yield modules 93.60 74,880.0 1.250
Refinery, 4 Yield modules 93.60 74,880.0 1.250

Space Engineers Basic Refinery Quick Facts + Energy Usage Info - Test results: Efficiency A - B49EF5E
This is looking worse and worse. Not only is the BR slower than any of the alternatives, it also uses more energy for what it does manage to refine.
What a piece of rubbish.

Test results: Ingots produced

Gravel Iron Nickel Silicon All ingots
Unit kg kg kg kg kg
Survival Kit 756.00 1,620.00 129.60 216.00 2,721.60
Basic Refinery 366.91 786.24 62.90 104.83 1,320.88
Refinery, 0 Yield modules 1,058.80 2,268.86 181.51 302.52 3,811.69
Refinery, 1 Yield module 1,246.67 2,671.44 213.71 356.19 4,488.01
Refinery, 2 Yield modules 1,482.55 3,176.89 254.15 423.59 5,337.18
Refinery, 3 Yield modules 1,763.06 3,777.98 302.24 503.73 6,347.01
Refinery, 4 Yield modules 2,096.64 4,492.80 359.42 599.04 7,547.90

Space Engineers Basic Refinery Quick Facts + Energy Usage Info - Test results: Ingots produced - E39C661
No surprise here. Less stone consumed, less ingots produced. But less by how much?
(Before you ask: All Gravel:Iron:Nickel:Silicon ratios are equal across all conversions. It’s always 35:75:6:10.)

Test results: Efficiency B

Stone consumed Ingots produced Conversion ratio
Unit kg kg (dimensionless)
Survival Kit 54,000.0 2,721.60 0.0504
Basic Refinery 37,440.0 1,320.88 0.0353
Refinery, 0 Yield modules 75,628.8 3,811.69 0.0504
Refinery, 1 Yield module 74,880.0 4,488.01 0.0599
Refinery, 2 Yield modules 74,880.0 5,337.18 0.0713
Refinery, 3 Yield modules 74,880.0 6,347.01 0.0848
Refinery, 4 Yield modules 74,880.0 7,547.90 0.1008

Space Engineers Basic Refinery Quick Facts + Energy Usage Info - Test results: Efficiency B - D926749
I have no words.
Also, interesting to see that the Survival Kit and the Refinery have the same conversion efficiency.


So, should you use the Basic Refinery for stone?

6. NO!!

(Unless you want to. Who am I to tell you otherwise?)
The only excuses this sorry piece of pixel pile in the G-menu has for existing next to the proper Refinery are its advantages in size, initial cost, and raw power draw (330 kW vs 500 kW), but as soon as that Refinery can be afforded, this pathetic sack of junk should be erased from anyone’s consideration. Once superseded, it is literally and demonstrably a waste of time, energy, and material.
Space Engineers Basic Refinery Quick Facts + Energy Usage Info - Conclusion - 69C45BC

Links and acknowledgements

  • Spreadsheet:
  • Basic Refinery 3D model: Keen SWH s.r.o.
  • Granny punt GIF: no foggy idea


Written by andersenman

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