# Warp Drive Energy Consumption Efficiency and scaling to TransWarp speeds.

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by KamenRiderBlade, Oct 8, 2021.

Joined:
Oct 24, 2012
So based on my Warp Factor 3.0 Scale data from my Spread Sheet

Which is just TNG era Warp Factor formula without the stupid hand drawn curve to infinity past Warp 9.
I just uncap that formula and let it properly run to infinity via the Spread Sheet which gives you a handy dandy table to work with.

I noticed that the power consumption generally creeps up pretty dramatically and why StarFleet and the UFP needed to find alternate ways of FTL if they want to hit TransWarp speeds.

Here's the TOS era version of this Warp Factor Scale:

Here's the TNG era version:

Below is my own hand made expanded version of Warp Factor & Power Consumption Scale.

To give you a sense of scale, according to Tom Paris' on screen stated evidence of Warp Factor 9.9 being:
"How fast?"
"Warp 9.9. In your terms, that's about four billion miles a second."
"Think I could take her out for a spin?"
"Well, uh..."
- Amelia Earhart and Tom Paris, on Voyager
in ST:VOY.S2.E01 - The 37's

On my revised Warp Factor scale, the TNG era Warp Factor 9.9 is some where between Warp Factor 20 & 21, basically Warp Factor 20.###.

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TOS Era = Warp Factor Scale (Version 1.0).
TNG Era = Warp Factor Scale (Version 2.0).

Here's my terminology. On my Warp Factor Scale (Version 3.0):
+ Here are the general Warp Factor Speed ranges:
- Warp Factor 1-9.# = Basic Warp Speed range (100% Backwards Compatible with TNG-era Wf 1-9)
- Warp Factor 10-99.# = Decka Warp Speed range
- Warp Factor 100-999.# = Trans Warp Speed range
- Warp Factor 1,000 - 9,999.# = Super Warp Speed range
- Warp Factor 10,000 - 99,999.# = Hyper Warp Speed range
- Warp Factor 100,000 - 999,999.# = Ultra Warp Speed range.
- Anything ≥ Warp Factor 1,000,000.#; we'll just stick with Metric Prefix based Warp Speeds at that point.

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To give you and idea as to how much power the Warp Reactor can output, the Galaxy Class has a power output of:

12.75 EW: In 2369, the generation of 12.75 Billion GigaWatts (12.75x10^12 MW) of energy was harnessed (over an unspecified time period) in the warp core aboard a Galaxy-class starship. (ST:TNG.S6.E06)

The exact quote:
AMANDA: It's hard to imagine how much energy is being harnessed in there.

DATA: Imagination is not necessary. The scale is readily quantifiable. We are presently generating twelve point seven five billion gigawatts per (an alarm goes off)

That's ALOT of MegaWatts, for scale / reference:
One single large Wind Turbine has a average Power Generation of 1.67 MW in the 21st Century in the US.

And the Warp Reactor of the Enterprise-D can generate (12.75x10^12 MW).

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But as you scale up, you notice on my chart that I modified to show more data, that base power consumption is generally measured in MegaWatts.

And as you creep up the Warp Scale, you're running into the Total Power Generation Limits of a Galaxy Class Warp Reactor.

Even assuming the USS Voyager / Intrepid-Class was more advanced and had a more compact reactor that can generate the same level of Power Output as the Galaxy Class, the UFP needed to start looking for alternate FTL methods that traveled faster, farther, for less power consumption.

Scaling up past Warp 9.9 (TNG era) or Warp Factor 20 really starts consuming a VERY HIGH % of your Total Reactor Output Budget 10^9 class of power consumption when your total Max Output is in the 10^12 range.

I did the math with the USS Equinox and it's Enhanced Warp Drive that used the carcasses of that interdimensional alien, and they were in the Warp Factor 43 speed range, but that puts your power consumption levels at 10^10 -> 10^11 MW power consumption range, no wonder he had to murder so many of those poor Inter Dimensional creatures if their carcasses can generate that much power.

It seemed like the USS Equinox's main issue besides being beaten up & heavily damaged was the Warp Core/Reactor Power Generation Issue; not their Warp Nacelles or Space Frame being incapable of handling those extreme speeds.

So as you scale up and go faster using Traditional Warp Drive (Assuming your Space Frame & Warp Engines can handle it), you need that much more Warp Core / Reactor Power if you use Traditional Warp Drive.

Obviously, if you were using Vulcan Coleopteric Warp Rings, you can save ~17% on your power consumption, but you lack tactical manueverability at Warp Speeds.

StarFleet wouldn't want that, especially given that it gets into FTL battles at Warp Speed often enough that it needs to be considered. But, a regular civilian operation would want it for Energy Efficiency Savings alone. So they might consider designing or building vessels around Vulcan Warp Rings / Coleopteric Warp Drives.

I wouldn't be surprised if we see more Non-Vulcan / UFP civilian vessels use Warp Rings due to it's energy efficient nature while operating at Warp Speeds. 17% of that big of a power consumption level is HUGE.

That could affect your resource costs as well and how long you would need to refuel.

Even USS Voyager's Un-Scheduled 70,000 ly journey from the Delta Quadrant to home:
- Based on the on-screen estimates of 75 year journey has a average cruise speed of Warp 8 assuming unlimited fuel
- Warp 8 would take 68.36 years if non-stop with unlimited fuel, but given stops, repairs, exploration, etc. They probably rounded up to 75 years
- That means I can guess that Warp 8 was their cruise speed assuming unlimited fuel (A VERY Unrealistic Scenario)
- Galaxy Class initial Average Cruise speed was Warp 6, but later on became Warp 7.
- Intrepid Class should be one Warp Factor tier above the Galaxy Class for Cruise Speeds, especially given how much more advanced technologically the Intrepid Class was over the Galaxy Class.
- But I highly doubt that the USS Voyager had enough Fuel / Supplies for that long of a journey. They were supposed to be back to DS9 in a few weeks, so I doubt they packed that many resources onto the USS Voyager, ergo lack of Fuel / Supplies.

So I'm not really surprised that the UFP / StarFleet are looking for a more efficient way of FTL that is also faster (TransWarp Drives).

Quantum SlipStream and Borg TransWarp Corridor Generators are very interesting technologies considering they require different tech and principles to operate.

The base power consumption could be ALOT better (More Energy Efficient) than traditional Warp Drive IMO, especially for the given speed that they're going and how much power a traditional Warp Drive would need just to match the QSS & TWCG speeds.

Any thoughts on my napkin analysis?

Last edited: Oct 9, 2021
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Joined:
Aug 22, 2021
I tried to calculate this a while ago. As for energy consumption, put into effect ships available power. All federation ships warp capable are powered by a Matter/antimatter reactor assembly (M/ARA) since specific fuel consumption is rarely mentioned in Lore, we don't simply know. But we do know! Matter-antimatter reactions produce huge volumes of energy. 180 Petajoules per kilogram consumed. Conversion efficiency is seldom mentioned except in one episode. In TNG episode "Force of Nature" USS Intrepid (intrepid class) managed to get a power conversion efficiency of 97.1% suggesting 97.1% of the energy generated by it's warp core is available power or 174.78 Petajoules per kilogram consumed. The CLOSEST thing we get is the "TNG" technical manual which states fuel tankage size; In said Apocrypha Galaxy class carries 62,500 cubic meters of Slush deuterium with a density of 86.51 kg per meter; the ship carries over 5,400 metric tons (Assuming they don't compress it to even higher densities), enough for "Three Years" since the antimatter matter mix ratio is always 1:1 and the ship carries 3000 cubic meters of slush Anti-deuterium or 259.53 tons/259,530 kilograms, given the inferior volume of anti-matter aboard; , the ship can produce it's own antimatter (using it's own fuel at significant expense if need be), we'll give rough estimate of one years anti-matter fuel supply. Full antimatter consumption with a 97.1% conversion efficiency of useful power, would produce 45.36 Zettajoules in a year under ideal conditions. Divided by 8,766 hours in a year using 29 kilograms per hour and an energy output of at least 5.0686 Exajoules per hour (1.437 Billion kilowatt-hours) or 1.40795 Petajoules a second, a Joule per second is a Watt of power so engine under ideal conditions produces 1.40795 Petawatts. Add on top of that Ships Impulse engines (Giant fusion reactors) and auxiliary fusion reactors as backups. Standard cruising velocity of warp 5-6, Ship uses about 29 kg per hour or 8 grams per second. But a galaxy class uses more fuel than a faster but smaller Intrepid. Like All propulsion technologies, mass and fuel are variable.

A 30 foot boat with a Mercury 150 horsepower engine uses 15 gallons of fuel per hour.
An Arleigh burke destroyer uses 1000-2000 gallons of fuel per hour.

A ships warp core runs whether it's traveling at warp or not. So assuming 8 grams is sufficient for casual warp velocity (warp 5), Warp 6 uses more, and so on

Transwarp fuel consumption

3. ### DumbbellLieutenant CommanderRed Shirt

Joined:
Oct 1, 2021
I think warp drive research and development, especially within the Federation, should focus on making warp engines the best in class at Warp Factor 5, and reducing damage to space/time thus permitting regular use at speeds greater than Warp Factor 5.

Sometimes you have to take a step back to take two steps forward.

Joined:
Oct 24, 2012
Somewhere in Voyager's Tech Manual, they stated that the StarFleet has fixed the damage to SubSpace Space/Time issue with their new Warp Nacelle design, so speed limits aren't necessary.

But Energy consumption is still an issue, especially at higher speeds.

Even with a 3 year supply of M/A-M fuel, you don't want to pointlessly consume your energy resources faster than necessary when you're out and about.

Also, making Warp Nacelles more energy efficient along with finding new more energy efficient ways of going faster should be a priority.

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5. ### DumbbellLieutenant CommanderRed Shirt

Joined:
Oct 1, 2021
What’s your take on transwarp? I mean the real transwarp: tactical transwarp. The one that Captain Lawrence H. Styles, of the prototype transwarp vessel, U.S.S. Excelsior, was going to engage in pursuit of James T. Kirk aboard the stolen U.S.S. Enterprise. The one that the U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701-A, formerly U.S.S. Yorktown, also had. The one that also mysteriously vanished from both vessels in a hurry and virtually disappeared from memory…

Failed experiment, my asterisk!

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Joined:
Aug 26, 2003
(FWIW, the Enterprise-A never did have transwarp. While computer display graphics to that effect were seen in a certain backstage book, the actual set never featured those exact graphics, or more accurately those exact texts; the word "warp" in the original Okudagrams was just changed to "transwarp" by the author of the book.)

Timo Saloniemi

7. ### DumbbellLieutenant CommanderRed Shirt

Joined:
Oct 1, 2021
No, the U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701-A, did not have the transwarp tactical system. It was the U.S.S. Yorktown. By the time our heroes took command of the Enterprise, formerly Yorktown, the tactical transwarp system had been removed along with the former registries.

It was a conspiracy, I tells ya!

Joined:
Oct 24, 2012
The Transwarp that they had was just another layer of Subspace that StarFleet was figuring out how to manipulate to push the Warp engines to allow the vessel to go faster than before.

On the original Warp Factor scale, the Enterprise's max speed before it was about to shake itself apart was Warp 14.1
Warp factor 14. In 2268, the Enterprise achieved a speed of warp 14.1 when the engine of the ship was sabotaged to overload by a Kalandan planetary defense system. At that velocity the ship came within moments of destroying itself. (TOS: "That Which Survives")

Warp Factor 14.1 on the TOS scale or Warp Factor Scale 1.0 = 2803.22c

For Perspective/Reference, the TNG era scale is consistent to Warp Factor 9, after that it's the bloody stupid hand drawn curve to Infinity.

Warp 9 = 1,516.38110700484c

Tom Paris states that Warp 9.9 is this fast in ST:VOY.S2.E01 - The 37's
"How fast?"
"Warp 9.9. In your terms, that's about four billion miles a second."
"Think I could take her out for a spin?"
"Well, uh..."
- Amelia Earhart and Tom Paris, on Voyager

That's ~21,473c

Given how large "Infinity" is at Warp 10 on the TNG scale, that comes out to be between Warp Factor 20-21 on my scale, which is quite reasonable IMO.
2803.22c or Wf 14.1 on TOS scale becomes Wf 10.82174148 on my Wf version 3.0 scale.

So it's not really much of a problem in terms of Top Speed progression as Time transitions from 23rd -> 24th century.

The tech makes sense as another step towards the top speeds we see in TNG era.

Their use of "TransWarp" is a nebulous term for speeds faster than our Fastest speeds of that time.

They didn't have a consistent definition of "TransWarp" other than it's faster than the best that we have.

I solved that in my definition of Warp Speed Ranges.

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9. ### DumbbellLieutenant CommanderRed Shirt

Joined:
Oct 1, 2021
That's cool, but that's exactly what they want you to believe! (They don't want you to discover the secret weapons of the transwarp development project. )

Joined:
Oct 24, 2012
What secret weapon, that your ship goes faster than the previous generation?

That's the normal R&D of most species, finding methods to go faster and faster at FTL.

UFP / StarFleet just happened to be on the cusp of it at that time.

11. ### DumbbellLieutenant CommanderRed Shirt

Joined:
Oct 1, 2021
It looks like you are thinking in terms of “transwarp” being just another name for a better, faster warp drive.

To me, that is clearly a fiction within a fiction.

Why the Federation generated such a fiction was never disclosed in canon. It seems obvious to me, however, that Captain Scott’s timely sabotage afforded the perfect opportunity to redact and seize all transwarp-related technology. True transwarp is not just another name for a better, faster warp drive.

But never mind all that!

I like your idea of adjusting the scale in the name of efficiency so that we no longer have to refer to advanced (but now very common) warp speeds in terms of Warp Factor 9-point-something…

I'd go for something like Warp Factor x where x is equal to ((x to the xth power) times the speed of light).

Joined:
Oct 24, 2012
Regardless, the Warp Factor formula is already established, it's historical & canonical.

My Warp Factor version 3.0 is just "Un-capping" the Hand Drawn Curve to infinity post Warp 9.

So it's EASIER to adopt then an entirely new system.

I at least have some backwards compatibility and I reuse the TNG era formula, all the way to infinity with full decimalized #'s written from 1 to Infinity.

IRL, you won't be needing more than 3 Digits left of the decimal and 1 or 2 digits to the right for everyday speech / dialog.

So Wf ###.## is the most common form of usage range.

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