GE knows that investing in cleantech solutions is not only a smart choice for the environment; it’s also key to reviving our economy, creating jobs, and driving innovation forward. As a result, GE was recently named Corporation of the Year by Cleantech Group—a well-respected cleantech research and advisory firm.
Opening the door to fresh ideas
Since good ideas can come from almost anywhere, GE has opened its digital doors to inventors all around the world. Partnering with a few renown venture capital firms, in July 2010 GE launched the $200 million ecomagination Challenge, an online open invitation to innovators to submit their best ideas for new and better ways to create, capture, manage or use energy.
The ecomagination Challenge brought together thousands of innovators and others submitting their ideas, sharing their thoughts, and furthering the discussion of clean technology. And the results have been impressive.
To date, GE and its ecomagination challenge partners have committed to investing $134 million in cleantech startups that show promise for our energy future.
With its technological expertise, market experience, and global reach, GE is able to help innovators develop their ideas and bring them to market more quickly and effectively. A partnership with GE can give startups the resources they need to see their ideas through to success.
At the same time, GE benefits from the wide range of new ideas brought to their attention. The ecomagination Challenge has been an efficient magnet, attracting so many good ideas that GE has been able to enter into commercial partnerships with 22 startups representing a broad spectrum of technologies, including wireless power transmission, thermoelectric materials that transform heat into electricity, grid-scale energy storage, self-tinting energy saving windows, software energy management systems and much more.
The ideas of other winning partners range from nano-powders to consumer software for managing home energy use to grid-scale solutions that can help utilities transmit energy more efficiently.
GE has even acquired a company it first found through the ecomagination Challenge: FMC-Tech—a smart power grid monitoring service. FMC is now part of GE Energy Services’ Digital Energy Substation business. As an innovative approach to finding and funding the next generation of energy technology, GE’s ecomagination Challenge has been an outstanding success.
Winning the competition allows us to take the next steps toward commercializing our product. We see a lot of really good things ahead for us.
Beyond the challenge
GE is also working outside of the Challenge to accelerate the development and integration of technologies from external innovators into their offerings. To that end, GE has created a $20 million fund to finance non-equity investment in commercial pilot projects executed by GE businesses and startups.
Meanwhile individual GE businesses are also involved, demonstrated by a $22 million investment in Project Frog led by GE Energy Financial Services.
Project Frog delivers energy-efficient building kits made from prefab modular construction that take one to six months to construct and use at least 25 pecent less energy than the strictest building codes in the United States. That energy savings not only helps homeowners save money, it reduces the burden on our national energy infrastructure.
This ongoing commitment to finding and funding the cleantech energy ideas of tomorrow helps to ensure that GE will be a clean technology leader in the 21st century. When brought to market, the benefits of these investments will help consumers enjoy a more energy-efficient future while creating the jobs we need today.