General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) announced today that it plans to invest $10 billion in clean technology research by 2020. The move comes as part of General Electric Company's larger decision to keep its 9-year-old "ecomagination" initiative going for the foreseeable future.

According to the company, its efficiency initiative has already saved GE $300 million. At the same time, ecomagination has pulled in more than $160 billion in revenue from helping other companies save money and reduce their own environmental footprints. 

General Electric Company Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt noted in a statement that "ecomagination is one of our most successful cross-company business initiatives. Bold investments in ecomagination research and development have resulted in strong returns for shareholders and improved cost and emissions savings for our customers."

To date GE has invested $12 billion in ecomagination research and development, and says it is on track to meet a commitment of $15 billion through 2015.

The initiative's next $10 billion will go toward initiatives including finding ways to replace water in the hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") process to extract natural gas, cutting costs and increasing outputs of its wind turbines, and exploring new ways to increase power plant efficiencies. 

At the same time, the company committed to further improving its own environmental impact. The company says it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 34% since 2004 and that freshwater use has dropped 47% since 2006. It plans, by 2020, to cut emissions and freshwater use by 20% from a 2011 baseline.

GE said in its press release today that it is working with Statoil to  evaluate whether CO2 can be used as an alternative to water in hydraulic fracturing. It is working with Ferus Natural Gas Fuels on reducing the flaring of unused natural gas.


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