Lord of the Abyss wrote:
An idea I saw recently suggested by real-world scientists as a (fairly far out) black hole based space drive/power source is to use a micro black hole that's just on the verge of "going BOOM". The idea is to let it reach that state, and then feed it matter as fast as it's decaying so it acts essentially as a matter-to energy converter; matter goes in, Hawking radiation comes out. Obvious drawbacks would be an inability to shut the thing off, and it's inherently unstable; anything goes wrong with the matter feed and we're right back to it going BOOM.
A good idea for the matter converter-like power plant. But what I said for the Deridex's power plant
from Star Trek applies. The black hole has to be too damn big and the spacecraft will be under significant tidal stress.
Well considering that a) there is nothing in our universe that can give you the kind of power you need and b) FTL is impossible you will have to make shit up anyway.
The point is that I need some cool short fluff to write in descriptions and to inspire me in making the system behave in weird ways without having to come up with that myself (since I'm clearly unable to).
For example, the engine works by magically generating tiny (mass) black holes at some megameters from the ship, these pull the craft (I did some calcs and it's doable to do so without tidal stresses), but since they are so small they go BOOM in seconds, so they shine like a fucking star but are too distant to damage the vessel behind its shadow shield. This is basically a reverse-orion ship concept. Incinerates missiles and whatever is close to the black hole, can move multiple ships if they stay in formation, is fuelless but has an OBVIOUS signature in both mass-based sensors and more common IR telescopes. The main difference between this and a photon drive is that this allows the ship to accelerate at any rate without gee-forces. Of course requires fucktons of energy more than even a photon drive since cannot break conservation of energy.
Now, this is still based on kinda magic, but the effects after the "A miracle happens" try to follow physics somehow. Note that I didn't lose any time explaining how it generates those black holes (which is magic), just weird stuff that happens when it is in operation and is relevant to the player's choices.
And yes I left usual fusion/antimatter out on purpose, I'd like to keep the player aware that fusion and antimatter are NOT going to provide power levels needed by ships of that techlevel to go swoosh. Because you know, they really cannot do it.
Use fission/fusion/antimatter/whatever-semi-plausible-exotic-power-plant-you-think-of, to drive engines of similar parameters.
I know no semi-plausible power plant at these power levels, hence I asked here from where can I take such amounts of energy without having to resort to what is basically a fancy battery of accumulators or FTL Wireless Extension Cords From Home.
as for pros and cons you could have something you get alot of power compared to the cost with one plant but it can be built/placed only on certain very specific spots on the map like the thermoplasma generators in the Dawn of War game, while another gives less power compared to the cost but can be placed everywhere.
Which yelds very lame concepts as you can see. I need something to take some inspiration from to make up cool weird things. I'll still make up lots of things, but at least I have something decent to start from.
Besides these are power plants mounted on a vessel to make it do its job, not fixed structures on a map.
heck if you get really obsessive about details (like how many terawatts it puts out, which leads to thermodynamic concerns, which leads to fuel concerns..) you could actually reach a point where you spend more time 'building' the setting with all the analysis and number crunching and research that little or no time gets devoted to story. (This is my theory as to how David Weber's writing has evolved.)
I just want to know about the order of magnitude. Everything is going to be massively eyeballed and handwaved anyway, but I'd like to avoid making gross mistakes like Total Annihilation lasers (there was some talk about the stupid effect of their tank main laser gun on a tree if I'm not mistaken).
If you're willing ot keep the numbers on the lower end of what you stated you might pull off 'unrealistically efficient fusion', although fuel usage is going to be rather high. On the othre hand hydrogen is plentiful.
Fusion of normal hydrogen is horribly inefficient, only stars can do it to produce energy. Kinds of fusion that can be done and even become 'unrealistically efficient' require He3 which isn't out there in so huge quantities. The other fusion reactions have a neutron output that would be totally insane to bring to these power levels.