Tuesday, June 9, 2009

GE sucks up government money, invests in secret stuff that we're not allowed to know about

Jason sez, "GE bought a patent for a device called a Stamet Pump that was developed with significant taxpayer money by DOE and then refused to share the device with other firms or the public at large. DOE argued unsuccessfully that the patent should be part of the public domain. This device has tremendous potential in aiding gasification of certain types of coal, something that would pave the way for carbon sequestration from coal-fired power plants. DOE argued with GE execs that they should either release the technology to the public domain or license it to multiple other firms in the interest of the public, since it was funded with public money. Also intriguing in this story is that the state of Wyoming has partnered with GE to build a $100 million gasification test center using this technology--Wyoming is chipping in half of the money from federal funds that were released to the state after a long battle by coal-friendly legislators. Wyoming released the documents detailing the partnership with so many pages blacked out because of "intellectual property, commercial, and trade secrets" that no one can figure out the answer to questions like "what does Wyoming get for its $50 million?" GE and Wyoming decided to start a new test center after DOE officials, upset at GE's selfishness, pulled the plug on other gasification research based on the device and instead shifted their funding to a competitor who would presumably be more willing to share the fruits of taxpayer research dollars."

$100-million GE-Wyoming Coal Project Found Willing, Discreet Partner In Wyoming


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