Steam engines are used to produce electricity. They do this by taking in hot water and converting it into electricity. The hotter the water the more electricity can be produced. If there is an overabundance of electricity then steam engines will reduce their production to match consumption.
Hovering the mouse over a steam engine will display information for that particular steam engine: current production as well as maximum productivity.
Steam engines themselves don't produce any pollution. (Boilers do!)
Using other liquids
The steam engine can use any type of liquid to generate electricity. This can be used to get rid of unused oil-products. Just fill unusable oil products into a steam engine and it will destroy the liquids (cold liquids will be destroyed at a rate of 6.0 fluid / second). It works the same as for cold water; you don't need to warm it. If you heat the liquid before that, the hot oil will produce electrical power, just like with hot water.
By default, water is 15°C and oils are 25°C. The steam engine happens to work with water from 15°C and oils from above 25°C (a complete coincidence). An oil temperature of 25.22°C will get you about 1.3KW of power. Heating up water or oils makes no difference: heating one liter of water from 15 to 16 degrees takes just as much energy as heating one liter of oil from 25 to 26 degrees(OC). It was not tested how much energy the steam engine produces with 16°C water versus 26°C oil, but it probably does not warrant using oils instead of water.
In general you should convert the unusable oil products into useables, instead of just making electricity out of it!
- Main article: Achievements
Steam engines are directly connected to the following achievement:
- Produce more than 10 GJ energy per hour without the usage of steam engine.
- Made bounding box smaller.
- New graphics.
- New sounds.
- New graphics