Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Vinod Khosla, Mashayoshi Son and a host of other billionaires are investing an amount of $1 billion funds in seven energy tech startups through Breakthrough Energy Ventures, BEV. BEV aims to invest inthe startups to create emission-free solutions to tackle global climate change. Each company received funds ranging from $200,000 to $20 million with a total investment of nearly $100 million.
The billionaires are banding together to combat climate change with this new partnership called BEV. Through the partnership, the group's members have committed to use a substantial portion of their hundreds of billions of dollars in collective net worth to invest in early stage clean energy startups. The energy startups in the portfolio are:
- QuantumScape: The startup is developing an all-solid-state battery and strives to build cost-effective electric cars.
- Commonwealth Fusion Systems: The energy-firm is planning to develop a nuclear fusion reactor that uses high-temperature superconductors.
- Pivot Bio: By incorporating biology, machine learning and computer modelling, the biotech company is developing alternatives that can eliminate the related production of nitrous oxide—a powerful greenhouse gas.
- CarbonCure: The firm is creating a cost-effective way to increase the strength of concrete by injecting recycled carbon dioxide which aids to carbon reduction.
- Fervo Energy: The startup is developing technology for power generation by exploring the potential of geothermal systems (EGS) that can deliver electricity cost-effectively.
- DMC Biotechnologies: A biotech startup which has adopted cost and time efficient technology needed to scale up biological synthesis.
- Zero Mass Water: A venture committed to transforming drinking water by harvesting water directly from the air through specialized solar panels and batteries.
- Ocean-Based Climate Solutions: It has created a device that stirs up water in the ocean to promote the growth of phytoplankton, which are algae that can take carbon dioxide out of the air and deliver it to the bottom of the sea in solid form.
For energy companies to attain full-fledged profits and breakthroughs takes time and patience. Realizing the need to give the scientists and innovators some time to develop their technology, BEV is willing to wait for 20 years for its investment returns.
“We are a unique fund with investors who are patient and flexible,” says Rodi Guidero, executive director of BEV. “Our goal is to find the companies that will have the greatest impact on accelerating the energy transition and help them in whatever way we can.”
Dedicated to back new technologies to innovate better, efficient and affordable energy sources, BEV in June 2018, invested in two startups which are building technology to store energy- Form Energy and Quidnet Energy. The goal being to create a zero greenhouse-gas emission in the atmosphere; the two startups have completely different approaches to achieve the same.
Quidnet technology makes use of water to store energy by pumping water from underground shale rock to generate electricity rather than using hydroelectric power. Form Energy, on the other hand, is creating two types of efficient batteries capable of storing a massive amount of energy for a long duration.
Through Bezos Earth Fund, Jeff Bezos intends to give $10 billion to scientists, non-governmental organizations and activists working on climate change. Jeff Bezos is one of a growing philanthropists who has actively contributed to activities regarding climate mitigation and adaptation. According to experts, the Bezos Earth Fund is “in a class by itself” as the amount is greater than what the U.S. spends on climate-related research and development in a year.
To be eligible for BEV’s funds, a startup should have scientifically sound technology with a capability to bring down annual global greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 500 million metric tons.b