In December 2016, Breakthrough Energy Coalition (BEC) announced a $1 billion fund for its clean energy initiative, Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV). It’s a billionaire club-led fund focusing on inexpensive and reliable clean energy technologies which will aid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in long term.
In this June, Quartz revealed BEV’s initial two investments– Form Energy and Quidnet Energy. This week again, it reported a list of seven more clean energy start-ups where the $1 billion fund club is investing. These are – QuantumScape, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Pivot Bio, CarbonCure, Fervo Energy DMC Biotechnologies, and Zero Mass Water.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures
BEV is chaired by Bill Gates and it brings funds from the likes of business magnates including Jeff Bezos, Amazon; Jack Ma, Alibaba; Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Industries; Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor; Richard Branson, Virgin Group, Bill McDermott, SAP; Masayoshi Son, SoftBank and other influential leaders and companies.
“Energy transitions take a long time, but there’s more urgency than ever to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. We need new models of investment and new partnerships between governments and a broad network of investors, companies, and energy customers,” said Gates.
As per a study of the universal megatrends and BEV’s “Landscape of Innovation,” the coalition has identified five segments to focus and channel its investments - Grid-scale storage, Liquid fuels, Micro-/mini-grids for Africa & India, Alternative building materials and Geothermal.
Based on this, let’s take a brief look at profiles of all clean energy start-ups supported by BEV.
BEV-backed Clean Energy Start-ups
Form Energy: A start-up building new types of batteries featuring super efficient storing capacity for a longer duration.
QuantumScape: Another start-up developing an all-solid-state battery for electric cars, aiding future of mobility.
Quidnet Energy: A start-up designing a solution to mimic the power of hydro energy by pumping water into unused oil and gas dugouts.
Commonwealth Fusion Systems: An energy start-up transforming a nuclear-fusion reactor by using high-temperature superconductors.
Pivot Bio: A biotech start-up working on a microbial solution to replace nitrogen-based fertilizers and diminish the harmful consequences of nitrous oxide.
DMC Biotechnologies: Another biotech start-up modifying microbes to produce biofuels and other highly valuable chemicals inexpensively.
CarbonCure: A non-fossil favoring start-up endeavoring to infuse recycled carbon dioxide into the concrete which will, in turn, increase its strength.
Zero Mass Water: A startup selling solar panels and solar batteries to extract clean drinking water directly from the air.
Fervo Energy: A startup redesigning geothermal power by employing horizontal-drilling technology and modern computational methods to cut the production cost.