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|Tech Branch||Construction / Production|
A fuel harvester needs at least one sorium harvesting module. Once stationed at a pre-surveyed Gas Giant or Super Jovian with Sorium, it will automatically start harvesting at base rate of 20,000 litres/year per module, upgradable via research. Each harvester modules consume 1 ton of Sorium per 2000 liters refined. This conversion rate does not change with additional research.
The refined fuel cannot be transported via Mass Driver, so you will either need to manually assign a Tanker to the taskgroup and continually shift the fuel over to the tanker and then back to your colony, or send the Sorium Harvesters with only fraction of their normal fuel (say, 10%) with a conditional order to unload the fuel when they reach maximum capacity.
The game has a built-in conditional order for use with Sorium Harvesters. By using the condition 'When Fuel Tanks Full' and the response 'Unload at Colony and return to Gas Giant' you can essentially make your harvesters autonomous. Just ensure you have placed them at a Gas Giant first. The only downside is that they always unload the fuel at the nearest colony. As with Asteroid Miners, you don't need to give the ships any special orders, just place them at the mining site.
If you have a group of harvesters in orbit around a gas giant, don't send new ships to join that task group. You must send ships to the gas giant first, then tell them to join the task group, otherwise their production rate won't be added to the total. The same applies to asteroid miiners, terraformers, orbital habitats and maintenance vessels.
Civilian Fuel Harvesters
Civilian Shipping Lines can build fuel harvesters themselves. These harvesters will (slowly) make their way to gas giants with Sorium and start harvesting. Unlike other civilian shipping, these fuel harvesters will appear as potential destinations when you select Task Groups on the F12 orders window, so you can order your fleets to refuel from them. Refuelling from civilian harvesters costs 1 wealth for each 10,000 litres of fuel.
Once a civilian fuel harvester is full, any excess fuel is sold to the private sector. This also generates tax revenue equal to 20% of the fuel price.