I would like to know how much thermal energy is converted to kinetic energy in a steam engine, or a more efficient means if available.
I have done some research and found out that Carnot made some equations to determine efficiency. It is also mentioned that as part of the Carnot cycle it is important that the cold temperature reservoir be colder, but I don't understand how that would help increase efficiency of the conversion of thermal energy to kinetic energy. Here is a paragraph taken from Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnot_cycle
"Lowering the temperature of the cold reservoir will have more effect on the ceiling efficiency of a heat engine than raising the temperature of the hot reservoir by the same amount."