Immelt: GE chairman pushes 'ecomagination' in Europe

June 29, 2005
'ecomagination' effort to help tackle global environment challenge, drive GE growt. CEO sees answers in environmental technologies...

GARCHING, Germany, June 29, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- General Electric chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt outlined Europe-specific aspects of the company's innovative ecomagination initiative, designed to bring to market new technologies that will help customers meet increasing global environmental challenges and stimulate GE's continued growth.

"Ecomagination is a global GE growth strategy where advanced technologies help us answer modern challenges, support our customers, and increasingly enhance our bottom line," Immelt said. "Applying technology to solving problems is universally good business - in the U.S., in Europe and around the world."

GE launched ecomagination in May, detailing the company's focus on the pressing need for efficient sources of energy, abundant supplies of clean water, and technology that is cost-effective and safe for its customers.

With more than 300,000 employees -- 85,000 in Europe alone -- GE considers leadership on these and other issues imperative for continued success. With ecomagination, GE will:
-- Double investment in R&D. GE will invest EUR 1.25 billion [US$1.509 billion] annually in research in cleaner technologies by 2010, up from EUR 600 million [US$724.7 million] in 2004.
-- Introduce more ecomagination products each year. GE will double its revenues from products and services that provide significant and measurable environmental performance advantages to customers -- from EUR 8 billion [US$9.66 billion] in 2004 to at least EUR 15 billion [US$18.12 billion] in 2010 with more aggressive targets thereafter. These products include renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar, technologies and materials that make energy production and consumption more efficient, cleaner and more efficient transportation technologies, and products and services that conserve or purify water.
-- Reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve its energy efficiency. In addition to helping customers meet their environmental goals, GE has committed to reduce its GHG emissions 1% by 2012 and the intensity of its GHG emissions 30% by 2008 (compared to 2004). Under GE's projected growth, emissions would have risen 40% by 2012 without further action.
-- Keep the public informed. GE pledges to report its progress in meeting these goals.
Immelt noted a number of ecomagination technologies already in use in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, or coming online soon, including:
-- The GEnx engine - which will power the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 - and which is 15% more energy efficient, significantly more quiet, and has lower emissions than predecessors
-- The offshore wind turbine farm at Arklow, Ireland, which will harness enough wind to power 16,000 Irish homes a year
-- The H System gas turbine - which can cut emissions and improve efficiency of the power generating installed base by 10 % -- operating at Wales's Baglan Bay
-- The largest seawater desalination plant in Africa -- which will provide drinking water to 25% of people in Algiers, Algeria.

"GE's ecomagination business is also Europe's business," Immelt said. "We not only use these technologies in Europe, but we make them across the continent: wind power equipment crafted at facilities in Salzbergen, Germany, and Noblejas, Spain; turbine materials in France, Austria and England, and much more."
James Cameron, Founder and Chairman of the Advisory Board, Climate Change Capital, said, "I love this initiative - it is a properly researched and positive business proposition that you can have confidence will be implemented. With technologies such as IGCC cleaner coal, integrated photovoltaic roof tiles and hybrid locomotives, GE products will make a difference today and into the future. They will inspire others to innovate and to profit from doing so."
Immelt made his comments during an event at GE's Global Research Center - Europe, which focuses its research on renewable energy, imaging and sensors. Joining Immelt and Cameron were executives from leading companies that are working with GE on ecomagination projects and technologies, including Airbus and Conergy.

"Our tradition of setting standards through useful innovation is based on the skills and imagination of our employees and supported by our major partners like GE," said Dr. Gustav Humbert, President and CEO of Airbus. "Thanks to our ability to listen and understand our customers' expectations, our adaptability and our capacity to anticipate the future concerns of the industry, we are building our sustainable success. Our common vision is to set new standards with our products and processes, for the benefit of our customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, the environment and society at large. Airbus more than welcomes GE's ecomagination initiative."

Hans-Martin Ruter, Chairman of the Conergy Management Board, said, "Internationally, the Conergy Group is the most capable system integrator in the area of Renewable Energies. In addition to our main business of solar technology, we are gaining substantial market share in biogas and wind energy. GE offers us high quality systems-engineering in all three areas. For our continued growth, we can count on them as a highly professional component supplier."

GE already is among the leaders in energy-efficient power generation technologies, renewable energy technologies, water purification, and energy-efficient consumer appliance and lighting products. Also, GE's aircraft engines and locomotives are among the most efficient and cleanest in the world.

GE has initially identified 14 products that meet its ecomagination criteria and that are available in Europe. These products must significantly and measurably improve customers' environmental and operating performance. Examples include products that are significantly more energy-efficient than existing technologies, renewable resource technology such as wind power and products that meet third-party efficiency or environmental standards. GreenOrder, an environmental consulting firm, provided independent, quantitative environmental analysis of GE's products and verification of the product claims. Detailed information about these products is available online at

"GE is committed to the success of its customers," Immelt said. "When they win, GE wins. Our customers deal with some of society's toughest environmental and sustainability challenges. Ecomagination will produce products that help customers find the right solutions to these issues. That's good for the environment and good for business."

GE ( is a diversified technology, media and financial services company focused on solving some of the world's toughest problems. With products and services ranging from aircraft engines, power generation, water processing and security technology to medical imaging, business and consumer financing, media content and advanced materials, GE serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide.

GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies (, a unit of General Electric based in Trevose, Pa., is an industry leader in solving the world's most pressing water reuse, industrial, irrigation, municipal, and drinking water needs. Through desalination, advanced membrane, separation solutions, and water reuse and wastewater management and process technologies, it improves performance and product quality, reducing operating costs, and extending equipment life through a broad range of products and services.

[US$1 = EUR 0.828]


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