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Half of GM's patents include green technology

General Motors is beefing up its green credentials through both its research and development and manufacturing capacity. It has also been able to eliminate landfill waste from dozens of its manufacturing plants.

"We're seeing an increase in electrical and advanced propulsion patents," says Kevin Kelly, a spokesman for GM. "Both are classified as green technologies."

The drive toward hybrid and electric automobiles has helped push GM toward greener technology advances. So much so that more than half of its 1,300 patents in 2009 qualified as green technologies. Kelly expects the percentage of green tech patents to increase in the near future as the automaker continues to trend toward hybrid, electric and hydrogen technologies.

A study of the patent activity of the top-15 global automakers released by Ocean Tomo lauded GM leadership in the development of these sorts of green technologies.

"Green automotive technologies are the building blocks for creating and improving alternative power plants and increasing fuel efficiency," James E. Malackowski, CEO of Ocean Tomo, said in a press release. "GM has higher average quality and newer green technology and patents than the other 14 automakers combined."

At the same time GM has been able to make 62 of its manufacturing plants achieve Zero Landfill status. That means those facilities recycle or reuse all of their normal waste material. So far, 43 percent of the automaker's global manufacturing plans have reached this status, closing in on GM's goal of having half of its factories reach that height by the end of this year.

Source: Kevin Kelly, a spokesman for General Motors
Writer: Jon Zemke
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