Refining is a process of combining various resources to create new resources & items.
Refined materials are more condensed or more powerful & efficient than raw materials. The advantage of refined materials is that you can carry more of them. Also you need fewer refined materials to recharge something. The disadvantage is that refining takes time and possibly fuel.
There are four types of refiners with different properties.
Portable Refiner - Can refine one item into another (for example, Ferrite Dust into Pure Ferrite). It can be easily picked up (occupying 1x inventory space) and deployed again elsewhere. Must be fueled with Carbon or Condensed Carbon to operate.
Medium Refiner - Can refine two items into another (for example, Pyrite and Oxygen into Cactus Flesh). It can also be used to reduce complex materials into simpler ones (example: Carbon Crystal into 150 Condensed Carbon). Requires no fuel as it is attached to a base or freighter power supply.
Large Refiner - Can refine three items into another (for example, Pure Ferrite, Sodium Nitrate, and Silver can be combined to produce an Advanced Ion Battery). Requires no fuel as it is attached to a base or freighter power supply.
Personal Refiner - Works exactly like a Portable refiner, but is accessible directly from the user's Exosuit interface. Use this for processes that take some time.
! [Refiners are not storage. If you leave the area, their contents are likely to disappear.] !