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BMW has won an ÖkoGlobe award for the second straight year. The award was presented to the Bavarian automaker for its work on a thermoelectric generator. Um, what's that? Basically, using a process known as the Seebeck effect, electricity can be generated by a difference in temperatures. All right, fine... who cares? Under the hood of every car ever sold that has an internal combustion engine, a huge amount of heat is generated while the engine creates power to drive the vehicle. In fact, o

Researchers are competing to meet a challenge from the U.S. Department of Energy: Improve fuel economy 10 percent by converting wasted exhaust heat into energy that can help power the vehicle. That's not a trivial improvement: 10 percent savings would amount to more than 100 million gallons of fuel per year in GM vehicles in the U.S. alone.