Clean energy advocacy group Breakthrough Energy, led by billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, has launched a new finance vehicle to support the scale-up and commercialisation of four key decarbonisation technologies that are on the brink of deployment, but still not mature enough to attract major investments.
Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, described as a coalition of philanthropists, companies and governments, will focus its investments on long-duration storage capable of storing energy for months at a time, sustainable aviation fuels, direct air capture of carbon dioxide and making green hydrogen much cheaper than the alternative.
“Most green technologies are still more expensive than whatever they’re trying to replace,” Bill Gates wrote in its GatesNotes blog. “They don’t do the job better (other than contributing less to climate change, of course) -- and in many cases, they do the job worse.”
Catalyst will seek to spur financing in green energy products, aiming to make them cheaper and suitable for widespread adoption, expecting that the market will do the rest just as it did for solar panels and microwave ovens, according to Gates.
The new vehicle will start funding its first projects next year. Catalyst has partnered with the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to mobilise USD 1 billion (EUR 847.6m) over the next five years. The investment will be used to build large-scale commercial demonstration projects across Europe, with the goal to lower the costs of the four identified technologies and accelerate their deployment, Gates said.
Another one of Catalyst’s partners is CDP, a non-profit organisation behind a global disclosure system that tracks and measures environmental impact. Catalyst and CDP are creating a tool that will tell the vehicle’s investors how much their funding will drive down future emissions, Gates explained.
The launch of an interactive version of the tool is expected to take place at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), hosted in Glasgow this autumn.
(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.848)
Choose your newsletter by Renewables Now. Join for free!