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GM ranks above in clean-energy patents

General Motors (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) may be one of the world’s largest automakers, with roots back to 1908, but its ranking among clean-energy patents demonstrates GM’s commitment to sustainable transportation and clean energy.

GM actually received more clean-energy patents last year than any other organization, according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index of U.S. patents.

For the record, the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index tracks the granting of U.S. patents in solar, wind, hybrid/electric vehicles, fuel cells, hydroelectric, tidal/wave, geothermal, biomass/biofuels and clean, renewable energy.

GM’s patents covered hybrid electric vehicles, fuel cells and solar energy, and focused on improvements to current and future technologies. GM’s 135 patents represent nearly 14 percent of the total 1,881 received by 700 entities.

According to Victor Cardona, co-chair of the Cleantech Group at Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti, publisher of the index, “U.S. clean-energy patents were at an all-time high in 2010. GM has clearly put forth a lot of effort in a range of clean-energy technologies, resulting in its appearance at the top of the list for the first time.”

Alan Taub, GM vice president of global research and development responded by saying, “GM is on a journey to reinvent the automotive DNA, and that’s driving a great amount of innovation and technological breakthroughs. We will continue our aggressive focus on advanced propulsion technologies that will benefit our customers and the environment.”

Here are a few of last year’s inventions:

  • Multi-injection combustion cycle systems for spark ignition direct injection engines: Improves fuel and air mixing, and reduces hydrocarbon emissions during engine startup and cranking.
  • Dynamically adaptive method for determining a battery’s state of charge: Improves fuel economy with a new algorithm that estimates a lithium-ion battery’s internal parameters in real time.
  • Electrically variable transmission having three planetary gear sets with two fixed interconnections: Ultra-efficient hybrid electric vehicle transmission design that features low electrical losses, high torque capacity and city and highway modes.
  • Variable active fuel management delay with hybrid start-stop: Control system that seamlessly integrates active fuel management with start-stop for additional fuel savings.
  • Control of hybrid power regeneration during cruise control: Uses regenerative braking so the onboard battery can be charged during vehicle operation, saving fuel.
  • Method of operating a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle: Involves operating a heater when the vehicle is cold to preheat the battery, improving electric driving range.

"Strong companies today are driven by a culture of innovation fueled by a continued commitment to R&D investment,” said James E. Malackowski, chairman and CEO of Ocean Tomo, an Intellectual Capital Merchant Banc® firm. “These companies are usually leading the way in next-generation technologies like clean and renewable energy.”

GM believes energy alternatives and advanced technologies that help reduce dependency on petroleum, improve fuel economy and reduce emissions are keys to developing sustainable transportation. The company is thus pursuing several options to best meet the needs of customers around the world – from gasoline, diesel, and biofuels to electrically driven vehicles such as hybrids, electric vehicles with extended range and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Ultimately, GM believes electrically driven vehicles offer the most long-term benefits to customers around the world.

GM especially participated in last week’s SAE 2011 World Congress in Detroit with a great display of the Chevy Volt and the Buick eAssist™ technologies, along with its related products with LG Chem.

About the Author: After 39 years in the auto industry as a design engineer, Frank Sherosky now trades stocks and writes articles, books and ebooks via, but may be contacted here by email: [email protected]

Additional Reading:
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Scuderi Air-Hybrid Engine technology setting up to challenge electric hybrids
Cella Energy achievement may make hydrogen fill-up a reality
Stop-start technology to advance more micro hybrids by 2016
Four alternate engine technologies for 2011 and beyond


Trixie (not verified)    April 28, 2011 - 11:26PM

Energy is the sum total of all that exists in the universe. It changes from one form to the other. Every change in the universe is a result of subtle and radical changes in the energy. Over the ages, the technologies have exploited the energy resources available to man. As a result the world in reeling under a global crisis of energy.