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ABOUT General Electric (GE)
GE (NYSE: GE) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the worlds toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the companys Web site at www.ge.com.
Citizenship at GEis more than a program or a set of good intentions - it is a full-time commitment built upon cultural behaviors and actions. These actions are integrated with business strategy and have defined goals, strategies and metrics that make it actionable and accountable.
At the heart of GEs approach is a simple framework: make money, make it ethically and make a difference. GE is rigorous and deliberate about how it can help solve some of the worlds toughest problems. This approach is recalibrated often to address changing circumstances and challenges -- but the companys values consistently ground its views on whats important. For more information, visit the companys Citizenship Web site at www.gecitizenship.com.
Brine Science: How Salt and Ingenuity Purify Water for Thousands in Asia and Africa
Early last summer, Sister Mary Ethel Parrot dropped by the office of WaterStep, a Louisville charity fighting waterborne disease around the world, and picked up a pair of tote bags filled with tubing, clamps and other plastic parts. The nun took them on a plane to Uganda, where she had set up a boarding school for girls.
In Africa, Sister Mary Ethel, who is also a trained physicist, helped assemble the kits into a pair of ingenious mini water-treatment systems that look like a cross between a tea kettle and a bicycle pump. The devices use ordinary salt and electricity from a car battery to produce chlorine gas that kills germs in water for 600 African students and nuns at the Sisters of Notre Dame School and convent in rural Uganda. “In Uganda they can get their hands on salt, but not much more,” says Steve Froelicher, an engineer at GE Appliances in Louisville who helped design the system. “With salt, a car battery and some solar panels you could be making clean water for years.”
Froelicher and his colleague Sam DuPlessis led a group of GE volunteers who together with WaterStep designed the device last year. The system runs electric current between two electrodes through a water solution of sodium chloride, a.k.a. table salt. The electrolysis breaks up the salt molecules and frees bubbles of chlorine gas from the brine.