Home > News > Can R&D Save GE?
October 22nd, 2009
Can R&D Save GE?
Most of the news out of GE these days is bad. If the stories aren't about the company's deeply screwed up credit subsidiary, they're about the uncertain future of the NBC Universal media and entertainment business. Now, with Comcast apparently on the verge of buying controlling interest in NBC Universal, the key to GE's future is coming into focus: It's the company's core industrial businesses—which make everything from nuclear power generators and locomotives to jet engines, wind turbines, refrigerators, and health care equipment. And, of course, light bulbs.
Fortunately for GE and its investors, CEO Jeff Immelt takes innovation in the core businesses very seriously. Since he took over as CEO from Jack Welch in 2001, he has tripled the annual output of patents and doubled the company's level of investment in overall R&D. That includes increasing the funding of basic scientific research at the labs from $315 million in 2001 to $555 million last year.
The science GE is working on is quite diverse, from nanotechnology and molecular imaging to organic electronics, sustainable energy, and energy conversion.
Another intriguing GE research project is in the nanotechnology sphere. Margaret Blohm, the advanced technology program leader for nanotechnology, is experimenting with using nano-materials to prevent ice from building up in jet engines. GE scientists adapted the idea from nature. They studied a lotus flower leaf to understand how the surface of the leaf repels water. Because of the leaf's unusual texture, the tension on the surface of the water droplet is not broken, so it slides off. GE scientists believe that if they can engineer a synthetic surface like this for jet engine parts and wind turbines, the force of the wind will prevent ice from sticking to the surface. That would mean they could make engines that are lighter, using less material and requiring less energy.
Air Force’s 30-year plan seeks 'strategic agility' August 1st, 2014
IBM Announces $3 Billion Research Initiative to Tackle Chip Grand Challenges for Cloud and Big Data Systems: Scientists and engineers to push limits of silicon technology to 7 nanometers and below and create post-silicon future July 10th, 2014
Virus structure inspires novel understanding of onion-like carbon nanoparticles April 10th, 2014
Local girl does good March 22nd, 2014
Harris & Harris Group Letter to Shareholders on Website August 19th, 2014
Harris & Harris Group to Host Conference Call on Second-Quarter 2014 Financial Results on August 15, 2014 August 12th, 2014
Aspen Aerogels, Inc. to Present at Canaccord Genuity 34th Annual Growth Conference August 11th, 2014
Harris & Harris Group Reports Financial Statements as of June 30, 2014 August 10th, 2014
Tissue regeneration using anti-inflammatory nanomolecules August 22nd, 2014
A breakthrough in imaging gold nanoparticles to atomic resolution by electron microscopy August 22nd, 2014
Malvern’s Dr Alan Rawle talks TLAs in plenary lecture at Particulate Systems Analysis conference August 21st, 2014
Water window imaging opportunity: A new theoretical study elucidates mechanisms that could help in producing coherent radiations, ultimately promoting high-contrast imaging of biological samples August 21st, 2014
AQUANOVA receives Technology Leadership Award 2014 FROST & SULLIVAN honors NovaSOL® Technology again August 12th, 2014
Blacktrace Holdings Ltd. to in-license PerkinElmer Technology August 8th, 2014
Silicene Labs Announces the Launch of Patent-Pending, 2D Materials Composite Index™ : The Initial 2D Materials Composite Index™ for Q2 2014 Is: 857.3; Founders Include World-Renowned Physicist and Seasoned Business and IP Professionals July 24th, 2014
UCF Nanotech Spinout Developing Revolutionary Battery Technology: Power the Next Generation of Electronics with Carbon July 23rd, 2014
Production of Toxic Ion Nanosorbents with High Sorption Capacity in Iran August 17th, 2014
PerkinElmer to Display Innovative Detection and Informatics Offerings at ACS National Meeting & Exposition Detection, Data Visualization and Analytics for Chemistry Professionals August 8th, 2014
Nature inspires a greener way to make colorful plastics July 30th, 2014
Iranian Scientists Use Waste Cotton Fibers to Produce Cellulose Nanoparticles July 29th, 2014
Chemical reaction yields "tapes" of porphin molecules: Flexible tapes from the nanoworld August 13th, 2014
Eco-friendly 'pre-fab nanoparticles' could revolutionize nano manufacturing: UMass Amherst team invents a way to create versatile, water-soluble nano-modules August 13th, 2014
“Active” surfaces control what’s on them: Researchers develop treated surfaces that can actively control how fluids or particles move August 6th, 2014
Used-cigarette butts offer energy storage solution August 5th, 2014
The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) is proud to announce the 2014 Space Elevator Conference! This annual event will be held at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington from Friday, August 22nd through Sunday, August 24th August 19th, 2014
Life on Mars? Implications of a newly discovered mineral-rich structure August 19th, 2014
National Space Society Calls For Less US Dependence On Russian Space Technology July 15th, 2014
Motorized Miniature Screw-Actuator Provides 20 nm Resolution, Based on Piezo Effect July 8th, 2014