OPEC nations create $750 million clean tech fund

Part greenwashing, part self-interest, a couple of OPEC nations are kicking in $750 million for clean tech research.

Members of OPEC announced Tuesday that they will contribute $750 million to a fund to study clean energy and technologies, according to Cleantech.com

The fund will put a particular emphasis on carbon capture and storage.

Saudi Arabia coughed up $300 million for the fund while Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates each pledged $150 million. Abu Dhabi, a member of the United Arab Emirates, already participates in a clean technology venture fund.

In a statement, OPEC (according to Cleantech.com) said it would "stress the importance of cleaner and more efficient petroleum technologies for the protection of the local, regional and global environment, and the importance of expediting the development of technologies that address climate change, such as carbon capture and storage."

Oil exporters no doubt want to get some public relations mileage out of this fund. Oil companies, however, tend to be some of the biggest spenders when it comes to high-tech R&D. You can't really drill thousands of feet under water without engaging in some basic scientific research first. (Having lots of money helps, too.) Some of the "clean" projects in OPEC nations include gas-to-liquid plants in Qatar that transform natural gas into a liquid car fuel.

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    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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