Subnautica tasks players with surviving a harsh watery world, and knowing how to build a thermal plant can help you make it out alive.



In the open-world survival game Subnautica, players get to explore the depths of the ocean on Planet 4546B. It is a world that is just as dangerous as it is beautiful, with several hazards like extreme temperatures and hostile wildlife to be mindful of. And the key to surviving those hazards often rests heavily upon resource management.

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One of the most important resources to keep track of is energy. This is especially true in seabases where it is needed to power appliances as well as produce a steady supply of breathable air. And while players have a number of options for meeting their energy needs within the game, one particularly nifty way is by using thermal plants.


A Thermal Plant in Subnautica
Thermal Plants are power generators that leverage high temperatures to create energy. They function when placed next to a heat source that is greater than 25°C. They have an onboard display that shows the current temperature of the surrounding area.

Much like solar panels, they can provide a limitless supply of energy given enough time and proximity to a suitable heat source. And with just one heat source, enough energy can be collected to power a nearby seabase. Players can accomplish this by placing several thermal plants near the heat source and relaying their energy using a power transmitter.


Placing a Thermal Plant in Subnautica using the Habitat Builder
Before the ingredients for a thermal plant become available, players must have scanned at least two of the parts within the game. In order to craft one, players will need five pieces of titanium, two pieces of magnetite and some aerogel. Once you have crafted the thermal plants, you simply place them near an available heat source using the habitat builder.

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The thermal plants would appear color-coded to help guide their placement, with red indicating that the thermal plant cannot be placed in that particular location, while yellow indicates one being placed in an area without a suitable heat source. Green on the other hand means the thermal plant is within proximity of a suitable heat source.


A group of thermal plants beside a thermal vent in Subnautica
Players can place thermal plants beside any available heat source, so feel free to get creative as you experiment with different heat sources. The main consideration here is the intensity of that heat since it needs to be greater than 25°C in order to generate energy. It also generates energy at a faster rate the closer to that heat source it is placed, or the hotter the heat source itself gets, so that is also worth considering.

Some particularly effective heat sources that can be found in the depths of Planet 4546B"s ocean are the various lava geysers. They erupt with a burst of lava and steam every few seconds while also generating tremendous amounts of heat. Just be mindful while placing thermal plants around them as they tend to get very hot during an eruption, which could end up causing damage to the player.


A Thermal Plant close to a Lava Geyser in Subnautica
As a general rule of thumb, the rate of power generation can be calculated as °C*1.32-33. So that is a rate of 1.32 units of energy per minute. So at 28 °C, the power generated will be 4 units of energy per minute. It"s important to allow for the accumulation of energy before relying solely on the thermal plant. However, once the thermal plant is up and running, it should not be long before it satisfies most of your energy needs.


This is where power transmitters come in. These effectively relay the energy from a power generator like thermal plants, from one place to another. A blue line is displayed between a power transmitter and any power source it is currently connected to.

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Players would need one piece of gold and titanium in order to craft one. They have a limited transmission range, but several power transmitters can be chained together to create a line long enough to reach a nearby seabase. Some careful planning or consideration might be required in order to ensure that the power transmitters are properly placed between the thermal plants and the nearby seabase.


On the subject matter of placement, it is worth noting that thermal plants should be placed directly on the ocean floor, as opposed to on a foundation. This is because the power it generates gets automatically routed to any nearby structures, like foundations.

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You should also make sure you"ve taken a temperature reading before choosing where to place one. This will eliminate the need to use its onboard display to gauge the surrounding temperature. Lastly, the thermal plants are heat resistant, so feel free to place them as close to the heat source as you can reasonably get. And with these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to building the perfect underwater habitat in no time.