Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; May 15, 2014: GE ecomagination and Aramco Entrepreneurship launched an open global technology challenge recently to accelerate the development of solutions focused on improving the energy efficiency of seawater desalination. Four winners will be awarded with the prize of US$50,000 (RM161,000) each, bringing the total grant for the challenge to US$200,000 (RM644,000). Beyond this, the best ideas may also stand the chance to receive further investments towards commercialization by GE.
The open innovation challenge aims to identify new solutions to lower total desalination costs and emissions through cleaner energy sources; incorporating advanced materials; and integrating processes better. Solutions must be innovative, impactful, feasible and scalable across the globe.
Efforts to create this challenge are in line with GE's innovation in its 'Water and Process Technologies' business. With more than 80 years of membrane and design experience, GE's desalination technology is one of the advanced options available to diversify raw water sources as it provides comprehensive solutions that convert seawater into fresh water. Such innovations are highly applicable in Malaysia, as hot and dry spells coupled with waste and population growth have resulted in increased risk of water scarcity as. Therefore, seawater desalination poses a good option to diversify the country's raw water sources from its primary source of water catchments.
Noting that it is vital for customers in water-scarce regions to achieve and maintain low operating costs Stuart L. Dean, Chief Executive Officer, ASEAN GE Global Growth & Operations said, "At GE, we are committed to supporting the growth of an innovation ecosystem that leverages our global scale while also allowing us the flexibility and drive to address local needs. Considering the recent water scarcity in Malaysia, this is the best time for individuals out there to challenge this issue by sharing their ground-breaking ideas of how we can address the mounting water crisis not only in Malaysia but also globally".
Over the years, GE has spurred many innovation challenges that encourages continual learning, new ideas and thinking to improve innovation processes and deliver advanced solutions that solve today's environmental challenges whilst benefiting society at large. The goal of this challenge is to identify novel ways to lower these costs in Malaysia and around the world, either through technology advances, process improvements, or both.
Deb Frodl, GE's Global Executive Director, GE ecomagination said, "GE ecomagination is investing to speed up the development of more sustainable solutions for water desalination. Through this challenge, we hope to inspire scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and innovators in Malaysian and around the world to bring their talents to this effort and help drive greater outcomes for customers."
Entries are being immediately accepted at www.ninesights.com/community/ecomagination. The deadline to submit entries is July 16, 2014, and winners will be announced in November 2014.
The challenge is the fifth ecomagination open innovation challenge since ecomagination launched in 2005. GE has a successful history with open innovation challenges; most recently launching an advanced manufacturing challenge to use 3D printing to improve the production of a GE aircraft engine bracket and two healthcare challenges to advance work in breast cancer and traumatic brain injury diagnosis.
Since its 2005 launch, ecomagination -- the company's commitment to technology solutions that save money and reduce environmental impact for its customers and GE's own operations -- has generated more than US$160 billion (RM515 billion) in revenue. GE's own operations have seen a 34 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 2004 and a 47 per cent reduction in freshwater use since 2006, realizing US$300 million (RM966 million) in savings. Building on this success, in February 2014, GE renewed its ecomagination focus by committing to reduce GE's GHG emissions and freshwater use by 20 per cent, from the 2011 baseline, by 2020 and announcing the continuation of GE's R&D investment committing to invest an additional US$10 billion (RM32.3 billion) in ecomagination technologies to reach a total investment of US$25 billion (RM80.5 billion) by 2020.