Posted Tue, Mar 01, 2011 by Space Junkie
Rocket fuel is one of the most lucrative planetary materials in EVE Online that can be produced by just a single player. Unlike other, more convoluted plans, making rocket fuel with this method is simple and utilizes minimal human effort once it is set up.
This guide explains everything that you need to know to produce rocket fuel. A basic familiarity with planetary interaction is assumed. If you are unfamiliar with planetary interaction, you may need to read some of our other articles to familiarize yourself. These include our guides to profiting from planets, producing Robotics, single-planet business options, and the recent changes to planetary interaction.
The Necessary Skills
In order to use this business model, you must train Command Center Upgrades IV, Interplanetary Consolidation II, and Remote Sensing I. Training up Planetology will allow you to locate "hotspot" deposits of materials with greater accuracy and thus allow better yields. It is a good idea to get that to at least III.
A Suitable Location
A suitable solar system must be located at a location convenient for you. This solar system must contain planets with the two ingredients needed to produce rocket fuel, and a third planet to use as a factory. The first planet must be either a storm planet (ideally) or gas planet (less ideal). The second must be a storm planet, plasma planet, or lava planet. The third's type is irrelevant, but it should be the smallest planet not yet used in the chosen solar system. The larger a planet is, the more power connections between structures will cost. Because gas giants generally have very large radiuses, they are usually not the ideal choice.
Because storm planets can be a bit rare, it is often best to use them for gathering ionic solutions, and then get your plasmoids from any of the other sources. If you have several storm planets in one system, you may wish to consider scaling up your operation accordingly.
Equipment and Costs
You will need a command center of the appropriate type for each of the planets that you decide to use. The command center itself will not be expensive, but upgrading it to level III or IV will cost a few million ISK, depending on how high you take it.
The recommended skills involved will cost 2.15mil ISK, at NPC prices.
The planets where you will source your electrolytes and plasmoids will have nearly identical designs. Let's call them harvest planets. First, scan for the appropriate resource and play with your scanner slider until you have found a really good spot. Plant your command center there, then build a space port a little away from it. Build an extractor head next to the space port (or situated as ideally as it can be, given the resource layout on that planet). Connect the extractor head to the spaceport and get it harvesting as much as it can. The product should be sent directly into the space port.
Now, make four or five basic industry facilities in a ring around your space port. Get them as close to the space port as possible, and connect them to it. Configure them to process your harvested material and send it back into the space port. E.g. if this is your electrolyte planet, you should set the industry facilities to turn ionic solutions into electrolyes. Click on the space port again and set it to send the appropriate ingredient into each of the industry facilities. You will need to wait for a quick extractor cycle to be able to select the material and route it properly.
Depending on your exact setup, the planetary radius, and your needs, you may wish to make a second extractor head with a few more extractor heads.
Note that there is no real need to connect your command center to anything. Indeed, it wastes a bit of grid to do so. One might conceivably use it as a bit of extra storage space, but it is unlikely to matter. Plus transferring goods from there to the space port each time you wish to collect your harvest from this planet will add several annoying clicks with minimal benefit. Just leave it be.