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Electricity is a system and resource in Space Engineers that is used to power most devices. It is created using a Large Reactor, Small Reactor, Wind Turbine, Hydrogen Engine, or Solar Panel. It can be stored in a Battery and discharged to the grid it is built on. Any device that has a direct block connection to a power source will be powered by that power source; that is, if a reactor is on a ship, all devices attached to that ship should receive power - provided there is enough power to supply all active blocks on the grid.

Electricity can pass through rotor blocks, pistons, hinges and locked connectors (incl. small-to-large connections), but not landing gears. Most blocks have off switches if you want to save electricity temporarily, which is particularly useful in Survival Mode.

Electricity fundamentals & Terminology

In Space Engineers the rate of energy transfer and energy conversion is expressed in watt (W). The unit watt comes commonly prefixed to kW or MW, as seen in the table. An amount of stored electricity is expressed in watt hours (Wh), which can be thought of as the product of a rate of energy transfer and a time this rate was sustained. If, for example, you need 500 W for 5 hours, a battery storing electricity to the amount of 500W*5h = 2500 Wh = 2.5 kWh will suffice. Typically you will encounter Wh, kWh, and MWh units in the game referring to stored energy in a charged battery or in fuel like uranium ingots. Conversely, W, kW, and MW units describe a rate consumers (e.g. refineries) and producers (e.g. reactors) of electricity work at.

Conversion Table Watt (W) Kilo-Watt (kW) Mega-Watt (MW)
Mega-Watt (MW) 1 000 000 W 1 000 kW 1 MW
Kilo-Watt (kW) 1 000 W 1 kW 0.001 MW
Watt (W) 1 W 0.001 kW 0.000 001 MW

Reactors are the main source of reliable electricity, and they require Uranium ingots as fuel. 1 kg of uranium ingots will be exploited for 1 MWh of power. That is the equivalent of a reactor being drawn on to supply 1 MW for 1 hour, or 2 MW for half an hour and so on.

A large block Small Reactor generating electricity at its maximum rate of 15 MW to supply a large ship's total electrical needs (such as refineries, thrusters at full capacity, etc), will consume 1 kg of uranium in 4 minutes, while a large block Large Reactor will consume 1 kg of uranium ingots in as little as 12 seconds at its full output of 300 MW. Consumption of Uranium is solely decided by your current energy demand. There is no difference in efficiency between large and small reactors per uranium ingot, so a large reactor doesn't use uranium or extract any more energy out of uranium ingots than any small one would. It also makes no difference how many reactors you have online, reactors that are not needed will not draw any unnecessary power or use any uranium within them until required.

A Battery is special in that it doesn't generate electricity, it merely stores it for later use. It's wise to combine renewable electrical generation from solar panels with batteries and not reactors since a battery charging from the latter is only 80% efficient. This efficiency penalty means that a battery needs 20% more power (Wh) for the energy it will store and return. That is while it will return 3 MWh (for large batteries) charging at a maximum rate of 12 MW, the battery will require 3.6 MWh for a full charge, thus 600 kWh will be wasted. A Large Ship battery continuously drawn on at its maximum output rate of 12 MW, beginning at full charge of 3 MWh, will deplete in 15 minutes.

Power System Priorities

In the event of power failure or a power deficit, the grid will also prioritize what receives power.

In Space Engineers, electricity sources are ranked in order of which of them will be used first to fulfill electrical demand as a sort of automatic intelligent power management sub-system. The purpose of this is to utilise power sources intelligently, for example if there is both a Solar Panel and a Large Reactor available to use. Instead of equally distributing a load across them the grid will attempt to utilise all of the output of a solar panel, before using the reactor and use the reactor to make up any difference in demand that the solar panel cannot provide. Thereby saving Uranium, instead of needlessly letting solar power go to waste.

In addition to this, the electrical system will also prioritize certain sub-systems over others in the event of a power deficit - that is, insufficient output available to meet demand. Most of the lower ranked ones such as Batteries, Thrust and Charging are adaptable meaning they automatically handle reduced input but function with lesser effect for thrusters this means they still provide thrust but not as much as they could at full power, while batteries simply take longer to recharge. Certain systems are not adaptable meaning they either receive power or don't resulting in blocks shutting off.

Power Sources in order of Priority:

  1. Solar Panel / Wind Turbine
  2. Hydrogen Engine
  3. Large Reactor / Small Reactor
  4. Battery / Small Battery

Power Consumers in order of Priority

  1. Defense - Interior Turret, Missile Turret, etc.
  2. Conveyors - Conveyor, Conveyor Tube, blocks that make up the Conveyor Network, etc.
  3. Factory - Refinery, Assembler, Oxygen Generator, Air Vent, Oxygen Tank, etc.
  4. Doors - Door, Airtight Hangar Door, etc.
  5. Utility - Communications, Lights, Rotor, Piston, Medical Room, Gravity Generator, the vast majority of electronics, etc.
  6. Charging - Jump drive, specifically players inside cockpits or passenger chairs, recharging their suits.
  7. Gyro - All Gyroscopes.
  8. Thrust - Standard Thrusters, but not hydrogen based thrusters.
  9. Batteries - Any Batteries attempting to charge themselves.

Energy sources

Maximum output for Electricity Sources:

Block size Energy Source Dimensions Volume Mass Max Output Mass Efficiency Energy Density
Large Ship Icon.png Large Large Reactor Icon.png Large Reactor 3,3,3 421.875 m3 73,795 kg 300 MW 4,065 kW/kg 711 kW/m3
Large Ship Icon.png Large Small Reactor Icon.png Small Reactor 1,1,1 15.625 m3 4,793 kg 15 MW 3,130 kW/kg 960 kW/m3
Large Ship Icon.png Large Hydrogen Engine Icon.png Hydrogen Engine 1,1,2 31.25 m3 3,253.8 kg 5 MW 1,537 kW/kg 160 kW/m3
Large Ship Icon.png Large Solar Panel Icon.png Solar Panel 4,2,1 125 m3 516.8 kg 0.16 MW 310 kW/kg 1 kW/m3
Large Ship Icon.png Large Wind Turbine Icon.png Wind Turbine 3,3,3 421.875 m3 616.4 kg 0.4 MW 649 kW/kg 1 kW/m3
Large Ship Icon.png Large Battery Icon.png Battery 1,1,1 15.625 m3 3,845 kg 12 MW 3,121 kW/kg 768 kW/m3
Small Ship Icon.png Small Large Reactor Icon.png Large Reactor 3,3,3 3.375 m3 3,901 kg 14.75 MW 3,781 kW/kg 4,370 kW/m3
Small Ship Icon.png Small Small Reactor Icon.png Small Reactor 1,1,1 0.125 m3 278 kg 0.5 MW 1,799 kW/kg 4,000 kW/m3
Small Ship Icon.png Small Hydrogen Engine Small Icon.png Hydrogen Engine 3,2,2 1.5 m3 1,005.2 kg 0.5 MW 497 kW/kg 333 kW/m3
Small Ship Icon.png Small Solar Panel Icon.png Solar Panel 10,5,1 6.25 m3 143.2 kg 0.04 MW 279 kW/kg 6 kW/m3
Small Ship Icon.png Small Battery Icon.png Battery 3,2,3 2.25 m3 1,040.4 kg 4 MW 3,845 kW/kg 1,778 kW/m3
Small Ship Icon.png Small Small Battery Icon.png Small Battery 1,1,1 0.125 m3 146.4 kg 0.2 MW 1,366 kW/kg 1,600 kW/m3

(*) Solar Panels have a maximum output depending on their angle to the sun and the amount of actually lit surface. Given values are the maximum achievable output with perfect conditions, therefore efficiency and output may vary.

Large Reactor vs Small Reactor

Comparing them directly, the small reactor provides far more energy for the space it takes up; for example, 20 Small Reactors is equal to the output of a Large Reactor with only two-thirds of the space used. Despite this the large reactor offers greater economies of scale, requires less Conveyor complexity and in general is more useful in a variety of important applications especially as Powerplants for Large Ships, being both lighter and requiring fewer resources to construct. This makes Large Reactors ideal for ships that can take advantage of their reduced mass and accelerate or decelerate more easily, and therefore use less Uranium Ingots. Small Reactors are therefore ideal for stations that do not need to move, situations where physical space is precious or presents relatively light power needs that would not require a larger more expensive reactor. For example, a large reactor only needs 40 Metal Grids while a small reactor needs 4 Metal Grids at approximately 10 Small Reactors (150 MW) you would start to see economy of scale benefits clearly when using the large reactor. Between them however, they use Uranium Ingots equally as efficiently neither one will manage to extract more energy than they would otherwise have to.

Power Usage


For power information relating to thrusters, see Thruster Mechanics.

Production (Individual Usage)

Machine Idle [kW] Operational [kW]
Projector Icon.png Projector 0.100 0.198
Survival Kit Icon.png Survival Kit 15 200
Arc Furnace Icon.png Basic Refinery 1 330
Refinery Icon.png Refinery 1 560
Basic Assembler Icon.png Basic Assembler 1 280
Assembler Icon.png Assembler 1 560
Oxygen Generator Icon.png O2/H2 Generator 1 330
Oxygen Farm Icon.png Oxygen Farm 0 1

(Values are for large grid blocks only)

Weaponry and tools

Device Small Ship Icon.png Small Ship [kW] Large Ship Icon.png Large Ship [kW]
Drill Icon.png Drill 2 2
Welder (Ship) Icon.png Welder 2 2
Grinder (Ship) Icon.png Grinder 2 2
Gatling Turret Icon.png Gatling Turret 2 2
Missile Turret Icon.png Missile Turret 2 2
Interior Turret Icon.png Interior Turret N/A 2
Reloadable Rocket Launcher Icon.png Reloadable Rocket Launcher 0.2 N/A
Gatling Gun Icon.png Gatling Gun 0.2 N/A


Device Small Ship Icon.png Small Ship [kW] Large Ship Icon.png Large Ship [kW]
Beacon Icon.png Beacon 0 - 10 0 - 10
Antenna Icon.png Antenna 0 - 20 0 - 200
Laser Antenna Icon.png Laser Antenna 181** 577**

(**) The maximum power usage of laser antenna include both beaming and rotating at once. Beaming alone would be 180 for Small and 576 For large.

Other device power usages

Device Small Ship Icon.png Small Ship [kW] Large Ship Icon.png Large Ship [kW]
Gravity Generator Icon.png Gravity Generator N/A 0 - 567.13***
Spherical Gravity Generator Icon.png Spherical Gravity Generator N/A 0 - 1600***
Artificial Mass Icon.png Artificial Mass 25 600
Interior Light Icon.png Interior Light N/A 0.06
Spotlight Icon.png Spotlight 0.200 1
Medical Room Icon.png Medical Room N/A 2
Jump drive Icon.png Jump drive N/A 32 000****
Door Icon.png Door N/A 0.031
Sliding Door Icon.png Sliding Door N/A 0.01 - 1
Gyroscope Icon.png Gyroscope 0.001 0.03
Ore Detector Icon.png Ore Detector 2 2
LCD Panel Icon.png LCD Panel 0.1 0.1
Wide LCD Panel Icon.png Wide LCD Panel 0.2 0.2
Text Panel Icon.png Text Panel 0.02 0.06
Button Panel Icon.png Button Panel 0.1 0.1
Rotor Icon.png Rotor 0.2 2
Advanced Rotor Icon.png Advanced Rotor 0.2 2
Piston Base Icon.png Piston Base 0.2 2
Collector Icon.png Collector 2 2
Connector Icon.png Connector 0.05 5
Camera Icon.png Camera 0.03 0.03
Sensor Icon.png Sensor 0 - 30 0 - 30
Remote Control Icon.png Remote Control 10 10
Programmable Block Icon.png Programmable Block 0.5 0.5
Sound Block Icon.png Sound Block 0.2 0.2
Conveyor Icon.png Conveyor 0.04 0.04
Conveyor Sorter Icon.png Conveyor Sorter 0.1 0.25
Cryo Chamber Icon.png Cryo Chamber N/A 0.03
Oxygen Tank Icon.png Oxygen Tank 0.001 - 1 0.001 - 1
Hydrogen Tank Icon.png Hydrogen Tank 0.001 - 1 0.001 - 1

(***) The power cost of Gravity Generator is directly proportional to the field size and acceleration (absolute value, so 1 g consumes the same as -1 g). (****) Only when charging it's internal battery.