Recs

4

GE Aims to Make Waves

My children are currently raising money for The H2O Project -- a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising money to help make clean water available to thousands of people in Africa. The project hopes to raise funds for the construction of wells, dams, and holding tanks that will spare parents and children from having to either travel miles to collect clean water, or alternatively, drink dirty and polluted water from contaminated sources.

The project got me thinking about the problem of clean water. While it's a huge and tragic problem in Africa and other parts of the world, it's also a looming threat here in the United States. For instance, the Ogallala aquifer -- which sits under the Great Plains and supplies millions of homes, businesses, and farms with fresh water -- is being drained faster than it is being replenished.

All of this suggests that the business of making clean water could very well be a growth industry for the foreseeable future -- which brings me to General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) . Yesterday's Technology Review included an excellent article explaining how the company was teaming up with researchers at Texas Tech to explore the possibility of using wind turbines to power desalination plants.

Desalination has always offered a promising solution to the world's water shortages, but the equipment involved is expensive to operate, and usually powered by a source of energy that is neither sustainable nor environmentally friendly. By marrying wind to the operation of a desalination plant, GE seeks to offer an elegant solution to both problems.

The technology still has some bugs to work out, the biggest being the consistent supply of electricity that desalination facilities need to push ocean water through their membranes, separating fresh water from brine. Wind is intermittent, so it's never been viewed as a viable power option. GE is hoping to get around this problem by creating a desalination plant that can store the electricity created on windy days, then use it to power the facility when breezes taper off.

GE intends to launch the project early next year. It bears watching, because if the company can successfully find a way to combine wind and water to solve one of today's biggest social problems, it could also find itself out in front of a very big -- and profitable -- wave of its own.

Further energetic Foolishness:

Which alternative energy firm made David Gardner's list of stocks with explosive growth potential? Find out with a free 30-day trial toMotley Fool Rule Breakers.

Fool contributor Jack Uldrich, does not like to either make waves or ride them. Heowns stock in GE. The Fool has a strict disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

DocumentId: 517863, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 4/18/2014 6:02:21 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 20 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,408.54 -16.31 0.00%
S&P 500 1,864.85 2.54 0.00%
NASD 4,095.52 0.00 0.00%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

4/17/2014 4:01 PM
GE $26.56 Up +0.44 +0.00%
General Electric C… CAPS Rating: ****

Special Offer for Savvy Investors Like You!

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut semper dui vitae molestie venenatis. Suspendisse.

Enter Email Address:



Privacy / Legal Information
Advertisement