Talk:Proposed features/generator rationalisation

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I like this proposal

This is the best proposal among ones related to power. It is versatile and well-structured. --Surly 15:12, 26 August 2010 (BST)

Multi-fuel values

I don't understand why generator:source has the value on the right (generator:source=gas) and generator:output has the value on the left (generator:output:electricity=yes) -- FedericoCozzi 15:55, 3 September 2010 (CET)

Because it is common to have multiple outputs, so it is worth the overheard of the more complicated tagging proposed, but extremely rare for a generator to take more than one fuel so the extra overhead would IMO be too much. So-called "dual fuel" boilers and co/tri-generation generators actually have one main fuel source and a top-up of something else. For example, quite a few gas-fired generators have an oil backup source in case there is a problem with the gas supply. TomChance 15:07, 3 September 2010 (BST)
So how do you want to tag/seperate the main and the backup sources? --vsandre 12:56, 4 September 2010 (BST)
I don't, as I say I think it is unecessary detail. TomChance 09:15, 6 September 2010 (BST)

power=generator for electricity only


> The word 'generator:' is better than 'power:', but it is still not
> easy for me to tag a heating (only) station with power=generator.
> A place where electrical power is generated. A power station, turbine or other form of electrical generator.
I think I might just change that description to avoid confusion. As previously discussed, it would get very complicated if we tried to keep electrical generators separate from other kinds of energy generators, and changing the tag to "energy=generator" would put it out of sync with the other power tags.

I am against changing the meaning of power=generator. Please propose this first! --vsandre 12:49, 4 September 2010 (BST)

At part of that discussion nobody else supported your view that we should separately tag generators based on the type of energy they output, and several wrote emails against it. Clarifying what we mean by power=generator is implied by the proposal and has been discussed, so doesn't need a prior discussion. TomChance 13:28, 5 September 2010 (BST)
This is only the view from on side of the discussion because it never came to a compromise. (I had no time to answer at that time.) --vsandre 11:49, 8 September 2010 (BST)

power=generator with generator:source=electricity

Is it possible? For example for a heating/cooling only station. --vsandre 11:49, 8 September 2010 (BST)

Yes, that seems possible that a major energy generator providing heating/cooling services is powered by grid electricity. I don't know of any examples, but I'd be interested to see some. TomChance 09:22, 9 September 2010 (BST)
A Vapor-compression_refrigeration is used in Chemnitz (de) --vsandre 12:21, 9 September 2010 (BST)

generator:method and generator:source

According to Wikipedia there are seven methodes to generate electricty. generator:method=* are subsets of these.

  • Static electricity
  • Electromagnetic induction
    • via Steam through turbines: combustion, fission, fusion, gasification
    • other fluides through turbines: wind, water, thermal (hot air), osmose
    • reciprocating engines for small back up generators
    • magnetohydrodynamic generator (not sure about its classification)
  • Electrochemistry
    • fuel cells
  • Photoelectric effect
    • photovoltaic
  • Piezoelectric effect
  • Nuclear transformation
    • Betavoltaics

BTW the generator:method=anaerobic_digestion creates biogas and this can be combusted. The same with generator:method=pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is used to create a synthetic fuel which can be combusted.--vsandre 14:50, 4 September 2010 (BST)

I'm not sure what you have pasted these up for. Who cares if combustion and gasification are both parts of processes of electromagnetic induction and that Wikipedia breaks down the categories of physical processes in that way? Back in the real world we say "this is a solar panel that uses photovoltaic cells" or "this is a biomass combined heat and power plant that uses gasification". That's what the proposal is intending to accommodate TomChance 13:31, 5 September 2010 (BST)
I will try to tell you that it is not as easy as you want it. With power_source=* it was possible to tell the type of a power plant. It was a mixture of different methods and fuel sources as you already mentioned. It was easy understandable, but with some limitations. So I do support your proposal in general.
The list above shows you the seven fundamental methods to produce electricity supplemented with some examples and values of generator:method=* and generator:source=*. This list should show that there are many more methods and the we need a better way to categorize these.
Your example:
Biomass ---gasification---> synthesis gas ---combustion---> heating water -> steam through turbine (electromagnetic induction) -> electricity + heat
--vsandre 19:15, 5 September 2010 (BST)
In the biomass example the tagging proposal gives you all the information you have described. You have the generator:source (biomass), the method (gasification, which implies gasification->gas->combustion->vapourising water->turbine) and the useful outputs (electricity and heat). Nobody needs the physical process common to all forms of gasification spelled out for them, if they are interested enough to be looking at these tags then they can understand what is meant by "gasification". You might as well argue that "bridge=yes" is replaced by "structure_spanning_and_providing passage_over _ river_chasm_road_or_the_like=yes"! TomChance 09:18, 6 September 2010 (BST)

Why is it needed at all?

I don't see any reason to replace "power_source" by "generator:source" etc.. New values can be added to "power_source" and the other power_* keys. --EvanE 17:11, 4 September 2010 (BST)

I don't think you have read the proposal. The existing tags limit us and make it very difficult to distinguish between (for example) a solar thermal panel producing hot water and a solar thermal panel producing electricity. I started out by trying to simply extend the existing tags, but power_source combined several concepts that made it too limited so in discussion with many others we expanded the proposal with a new set of rationalised tags. TomChance 09:21, 6 September 2010 (BST)


I want nuclear in ugly bright greenish yellow (Like in the "Simpsons"), and sun energy in warm orangeish yellow.

Gas can have another color than yellow (grey?).

Wind energy should be bright blue, water energy middle blue, tidal water dark blue.

Coal shall be black and oil medium brown (swap colors). Red would be also OK for oil. Braunkohle shall be dark brown.

Wood energy shall be beige.

output:* and rating:*

Could these tags be combined? --vsandre 11:39, 8 September 2010 (BST)

hm, how to combine the type of output and the "amount" of energy generated by a plant - these are two different things. Please give an example. Greetings, -- Schusch 22:41, 9 September 2010 (BST)
Because before you changed hot_water to heat the rating keys were a subset of the output keys, with the only difference of output:*=yes and rating:*=watts. --vsandre 10:32, 10 September 2010 (BST)
That's an interesting idea, are there other tags that can take either a boolean (yes/no) value or a numerical value? TomChance 12:17, 10 September 2010 (BST)


The tag generator:rating:hot_water has to be changed in generator:rating:heat to be correct. It could be measured in J/s or W etc. I just change it and hope that's ok. -- Schusch 10:09, 9 September 2010 (BST)

Tom, why did you change it back - you can't measure hot water in watts - you have to know then how much hot water it is and also the temperature difference between input and output. If you keep it "generator:rating:hot_water", measured in "x / x W / x kW / x MW / x GW / x J/s / x J/h" it's just wrong! The heat is what you measure. Comparing electricity and hot water is like comparing apples and oranges. -- Schusch 16:37, 10 September 2010 (BST) (if you change something back it's good common usage to explain why you do so in the comment field -- Schusch 16:40, 10 September 2010 (BST))
Sorry, should have left a comment. The reasoning is in the discussion above - the rating keys are supposed to match the output keys, though I think Andre's suggestion about merging them could be helpful. It would make it feel less nonsensical saying that you get a wattage of hot water or steam ;) TomChance 18:12, 10 September 2010 (BST)
I don't understand this reason. As I understood/understand it, the generator:rating tag is for the rated power of a generator - something which is related to energy and which you can gain by heating water and using this hot water (this form of energy is called heat, please see en-WP Heat). The other well known form of energy is electric energy. Perhaps the article about the kilowatt hour can also be helpfull.
I don't see any sense in mixing up a tag related to a form of energy (generator:rating:electricity) with a sort of state of matter (generator:rating:hot_water). If you want to know something about the rated power of a power plant, it is not important to know how many hot water a nuclear plant produces (yes it produces a lot of hot water!) but how many electricity it produces. And the rated power of a solar thermal plant is a lot easier to state, if you talk about the maximum heat it can produce. Or, if the solar thermal plant finally produces electric energy, you talk about the elctric power.
So for me it would be consequent to have the two tags for the two forms of energy: electricity and heat. If you want tags for the outputted matter, there should be an extra group of tags. Please don't mix these two things up.
-- Schusch 17:11, 11 September 2010 (BST)
I am using "heat" for the output of "Fernwärme" (wikipedia:en:District_heating) which is common for many power plants in Germany. And that's where you get a seperate output power rating "heat" for. --Grille Chompa 15:05, 12 September 2010 (BST)
I started with the value 'heat', but then somebody pointed out to me that some power plants produce useful heat as hot water, others as hot air. Some power generators commonly produce hot water as their primary output to be piped away for use elsewhere (commonly for district heating, as mentioned by Grille Chompa), and as a secondary output also produce hot air used to heat the building housing the generator. In that case, my original proposed value of "heat" that you want to keep is inadequate. It is better to be precise, and only requires a few extra characters from your fingers. That is why I expanded the list beyond heat and electricity. TomChance 17:28, 12 September 2010 (BST)
well - to be precise, there should be a tag for the energy output and one for the matter output. If you mix those two up in one sort of tag - it's unprecise. I want to be precise ... that's the reason why I don't want you to mix up energy and matter. -- Schusch 21:23, 12 September 2010 (BST)
ok, perhaps an example: if you also want the sort of matter, you could devide the tags this way:
a hole lot of letters to type ... normally, for a power plant, the most important output rating is the amount of energy. So it would be easier to just have an energy focused tag. But please don't mix up energy and matter - then it's better to have the more precise but longer tags -- Schusch 09:05, 13 September 2010 (BST)
This is splitting hairs for no good reason. Some ratings relate to outputs in the form of physical particles, and others in the form of energy. So what? Should we separate out all of the generator:source values to denote those that are fossil fuels, those that are renewable, those that are biological, etc? Honestly, you and any other person with school-level physics can see that distinction if you care. Why reflect it in tagging making the schema massively more complicated? If you want to determine, from the tags, wheter a generator puts out energy or particles then the schema as proposed tells you all you need to know already. TomChance 17:30, 13 September 2010 (BST)

(to the left again) It's not really ok to be unprecise, the difference matters. If you deal with power plants, power and energy are the most important properties, the matter matters not so much.

Another question: why do you try to measure hot water in Watt? That's just wrong - it is not a good idea to use wrong units. You can't measure hot water just in Watts - you need a volumetric flow rate or a least a volume. To express something about energy, you also need a temperature difference (input-output). If you would bring all these things to a point, you do measure the heat - that's my point. You will get more questions than answers by giving examples for tags which don't realy make sense.

Mixing everything is not a good idea ... it will leave a lot of work for later times. And I will add at least the heat tag in addition to the electricity--because these two are the most important tags. Please don't delete it again. If you like, you can add tags for hot water, steam, ashes or whatever you want. -- Schusch 20:39, 13 September 2010 (BST)

Hang on, what gives you the right to enter a value that breaks the proposal and to tell me I can't remove it? You are trying to impose an unhelpful splitting of tags (matter/energy) on a proposal that already has a great deal of consensus behind it. I have removed heat again because it will confuse people using (correctly) the other values.
Look, I don't know how much experience you have in energy policy but the variety of generators is extremely complex. If you want to divide tagging out to comply with every potential distinction in physics, you will end up with an unwieldy scheme. We already have a simplified combination of "sources" in one tag because it is convenient, and because we are interested in helping people to know what sort of generator they are looking at. See the discussion above about methods for a similar point. The difference does matter in certain fields, but I cannot see why it matters to OpenStreetMap. You and I both know that electricity is energy measured in watts and hot water is matter that is commonly measured in terms of joules, m^3/s, kWh and other measurements.
I also wonder if you are familiar with the world of energy policy because ratings are almost always given in watts, particular as cogeneration/trigeneration units have become more mainstream. In the UK, for example, we used to rate boilers with BTU/h (British Thermal Units per hour) which includes a flow rate, also referred to as peak load/demand, but we now tend to just use kW in order to simplify comparisons between different generators. You may sometimes see kWe and kWt to distinguish between electrical and thermal measurements.
A footpath really isn't a highway, but we include it under that key because it is convenient to do so, and because nobody is tricked into thinking otherwise just because we have made that convenient simplification of the complicated language that is English. Likewise a boiler isn't really generating "power", but we include it under power=generator because it would be more complicated to create parallel tagging schemas with identical keys/values for generators that produce power (electricity), those that produce other kinds of energy/matter, and those that produce combinations.
Until you produce a reason for OpenStreetMap to think the distinction is important to OpenStreetMap (i.e. other the distinction you are discussing that can be deduced from the proposed tagging schema even though it isn't reflected in the proposed tagging schema) I will keep removing your edit. TomChance 21:29, 13 September 2010 (BST)
well, if you want to do it with the wrong wording, do it. I'm not your teacher. And if others accept it with your wrong wording, then I can't change it. But if I add a solar thermal plant producing heat, I don't care, what kind of matter it uses for the output and I will add generator:rating:heat ... I normally won't care for the matter of output, and can be much more complicated, to find it out. In that way, the heat tag is much easier to use and correct. For me it's horrible to use such a kind of jumble like measuring hot water in a unit of power. I think we are finished here, especially because you even don't except my physically correct additions as an addition (I kept your hot water output also, everybody could read about the possibility to choose between the correct or the curious way). -- Schusch 08:12, 18 September 2010 (BST)
wow: removing vandalism that breaks proposal, again in [1] ... you like provocating edit wars, don't you? Very bad behaviour, I think you are very young, very hot headed or both. -- Schusch
Schusch, I think it is you who is trying to provoke an edit war by changing values mid-vote after having been told a number of times why your edit breaks the proposal. Please don't resort to personal insults, it only makes you look bad. TomChance 09:47, 18 September 2010 (BST)
The "hot water" value is not a meant as a measure of the quantity of the water (and its deltaT), but rather a measure of the energy output available for heating any (technically reasonable) amount flowing through. We trust the flow volume to be within sane bounds. Alv 08:36, 14 September 2010 (BST)
yes I know exactly what is meant - and this energy output is simply called heat in physics ... that's all. But if you want to do it with the wrong wording and units, do it. Please don't expect others to do it the wrong way. We have just two sorts of energy output, electrical energy and heat. I doesn't matter, what kind of matter transports the heat. To repeat my word from above:If I add a solar thermal plant producing heat, I don't care, what kind of matter it uses for the output and I will add generator:rating:heat ... for me it's horrible to use such a kind of jumble like measuring hot water in a unit of power. -- Schusch 08:12, 18 September 2010 (BST)
You're free to add non-conforming tags if you wish. What you don't seem willing to contemplate is that OpenStreetMap is not a physics text book, it is an imperfect attempt to concisely represent what is out there in the real world without breaking everything down to the lowest logical level in order to design a perfect schema that satisfies theoretical scientists. These fudges are common across other tags, I'm not going to spend any more time arguing with you on this wiki as to whether they should be acceptable on this proposal as it has been voted through. TomChance 09:47, 18 September 2010 (BST)

... sometimes time will tell (of course with a lot of work from people with knowledge). Now we have a much more sensefull scheme - thanks for the proposal Power_generation_refinement which was approved in 2013. -- Schusch (talk) 10:54, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

Solar thermal use and photovoltaics

Solar power and photovoltaic are very different way to use power directly from the Sun. Why only one tag? --wiso 22:02, 12 September 2010 (BST)

What do you mean? Photovoltaics and solar thermal use are both "Solar power". Solar thermal collectors can produce heat in the form of hot water, hot air, hot oil, or it can produce electricity. I revised the caption to clarify this. The sort of process to convert the suns energy is adressed in the method tag.
There should be subcategories to give the sort of energy the solar power systems produce and perhaps also (extra) subcategories for the sort matter they produce. We could even have (extra) subcategories for the sort of matter they use for their processes. (I think, the last two informations could easily fit in a "note"-tag.) These sub categories are still not in a very good shape. That problem is addressed in the discussion one point above this. -- Schusch 08:57, 13 September 2010 (BST)
Ok, I like it --wiso 22:24, 13 September 2010 (BST)

biofuel vs biomass

The difference between biofuel and biomass should be explained.

It does not really belong to this proposal, but it should be explained that source=gas is not meant for biogas.

Basstoelpel 11:46, 14 September 2010 (BST)

Good idea, I will be sure to add in an explanation, and I'll add biogas as an extra source. TomChance 09:45, 15 September 2010 (BST)
Every local mapper will understand, but it does not fit well into the concept, because the typical biogas plants in Germany combine the anearobic digestion and the combustion, so the initial source is biomass. Despite that concern, take source=biogas, that's self explaining as preset. Basstoelpel 14:36, 17 September 2010 (BST)