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We consider a quantum engine driven by repeated weak interactions with a heat bath of identical three-level atoms. This model was first introduced by Scully et al. [Science 299, 862 (2003)SCIEAS0036-807510.1126/science.1078955], who showed that coherence between the energy-degenerate ground states serves as a thermodynamic resource that allows operation of a thermal cycle with a coherence-dependent thermalization temperature. We consider a similar engine out of the quasistatic limit and find that the ground-state coherence also determines the rate of thermalization, therefore increasing the output power and the engine efficiency only when the thermalization temperature is reduced; revealing a more nuanced perspective of coherence as a resource. This allows us to optimize the output power by adjusting the coherence and relative stroke durations.
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