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The truth behind GE ads' green dreams

If you're one of the 30-million viewers tuned in to NBC's Olympic coverage, then you've likely seen ads touting the green achievements of NBC parent General Electric. You've probably also guessed that GE's "ecoimagination" line doesn't really include turtle traffic or flatulent grass-fed dragons. GE's ads feature rich, mythical landscapes, inviting viewers to "imagine" a green-fueled future that is "no longer the stuff of legends." The truth behind the legend is a little less glamorous, but it would be animal cruelty if the two dragon-awed tots fed the fire-breathing beast baskets of chicken poop. Here's the real story behind the "legends" conjured by GE:

"Wind hasn't always played a helpful role in the Olympic Games, but today, wind energy from GE is helping power the Beijing games."

REAL STORY: GE provided 120 wind turbines to the Zhangbei and Shangyi wind farms north of Beijing, supplying 180 megawatts of electricity, about one-tenth of the electric capacity of Tampa Electric's Big Bend power station. The wind power feeds the electric grid in Beijing, a city of 16-million people, and two nearby cities. GE estimates that the farms can power nearly 400,000 Chinese households per year.

"Turning organic waste, like grass and plants, into energy is no longer the stuff of legends. Today, biogas technology from GE is helping make the world a little brighter."

REAL STORY: In August, GE announced that its Jenbacher Biogas Engine would be used for a biogas plant fed by chicken manure from a large farm north of Beijing. The biogas will come from anaerobic fermentation of the manure. The plant will be the first of its kind in China, and will provide 14,600 megawatt hours of electricity per year. That's about enough to power 100 Florida households for a year. There are 457 Jenbacher engines running on biogas throughout the world, GE said.

"Imagine a way to fly that not only helps save millions of gallons of fuel, but actually reduces emissions."

REAL STORY: GE's GEnx engine uses so much less fuel that if today's fleet of passenger jets were replaced with GE's jet engine, it would be the equivalent of removing 800,000 cars from the road for a year, GE claims. The GEnx engines sold over the next 20 years will produce 77-million fewer tons of greenhouse gases than older passenger jet engines. Boeing will use the GE engines on its new 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 aircraft.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. Asjylyn Loder can be reached at or (813) 225-3117. Visit her Fueling Station blog at to share your thoughts on this story.

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The truth behind GE ads' green dreams 08/17/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 22, 2008 9:21am]
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