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Green Tech Patents Dominate GM 2009 Filings

GM is touting the results of a report from Ocean Tomo which found that more than half of the 1,300 patents filed by General Motors Co. in 2009 were green innovations.

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

Among the patents was the development of a new catalyst material for the purification of exhaust from diesel or other lean-burning engines.  Traditional catalysts use platinum – a precious metal subject to wide price variations – but GM says its researchers discovered the material perovskite can provide performance equal to platinum at a much lower cost.

Another new device uses a material called shape memory alloy (SMA), which changes shape when it is heated.  GM researchers hope to use the material to build a recovery device that would convert waste heat from a vehicle’s engine into electricity to power auxiliary equipment, such as the radio or interior accent lighting.

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