Clean tech investment gives greener products

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The Independent Online

Throughout the past year, major multinational companies have been some of the biggest investors in cleaner and greener technology, and this has resulted in a series of consumer products that are friendlier to the environment, from smart meters to computer monitors and televisions.

The latest large investment came from Korean electronics company Samsung, which announced on August 10 an €11 million ($15 million) deal with Nanosys whose nano-particle technology will be used to help improve efficiency and lower the cost of thin-film solar cells. Other heavy investors in green technology include Chevron, which is investigating the possibility of making fuel from algae, electronic manufacturers General Electric (GE) and Japanese corporation Fujitsu.  

Such investments have already resulted in the development of products such as the Nucleus, a smart meter unveiled by GE in July. The Nucleus gathers and stores data, informing consumers about their real-time household electricity consumption through the use of PC and smartphone applications. The device is scheduled to be released first in America early in 2011 and is expected to retail for around $149-$199 (€115-155).

Fujitsu released their L and SL line of LED computer monitors which the company claims reduces energy consumption by 46 percent. The use of LED technology also removes harmful mercury substances from the manufacturing process and the lighter weight of the monitors allows for a 25 percent reduction in raw materials. The SL22W-1 56cm (22") monitors retail for around €200.

Samsung already sells a series of LED TVs; known as series 7, the TV has been awarded the eco label status by the European Union. Samsung claims televisions within the series, such as the UE40B7000, use 44 percent less energy per year than other TVs, require 17 percent less materials, and, due to the use of LED technology, no mercury is used in their manufacture. Samsung series 7 LED TVs such as the 55" UN55C700 retail for around €2000.