Venture Capital: Gates-Founded Breakthrough Energy Raises Over $1B From Top US Companies

Seven large U.S. companies have bankrolled Breakthrough Energy to develop clean technologies.

Breakthrough Energy, the non-profit founded in 2015 by Bill Gates to advance the cause of net-zero emissions, has raised hundreds of millions of dollars from U.S. firms for its Breakthrough Energy Catalyst project to support innovation in the field. (CNBC)

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), BlackRock (NYSE: BLK), General Motors (NYSE: GM), American Airlines (NASDAQ: AAL), Boston Consulting Group, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), and ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT) contributed in the millions of dollars each to enable Breakthrough to finance, produce, and buy innovations in clean energy.

Clean energy – how to bridge the gap

“Half the technology needed to get to zero emissions either doesn’t exist yet or is too expensive for much of the world to afford,” said the Microsoft co-founder in a statement. “Catalyst is designed to change that and provide an effective way to invest in our clean technology future.”

“By working with this growing community of private and public partners, Catalyst will take a global view of the energy innovation landscape – the key technologies, leading-edge companies, financing partners, and pivotal policies – and fund the projects that will have the greatest positive impact for our planet,” Gates added.

The four core focus areas for getting to a “net-zero” future are green hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuel, long-duration battery storage, and carbon capture from the air.

BlackRock has pledged $100 million to be paid over five years, while Microsoft, American Airlines, and ArcelorMittal have agreed to similar amounts. The size of contributions from other investors was not known.

IPCC warning on climate change

A landmark climate report released in August by the U.N.’s IPCC warned that human influence had warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land and that the changes inflicted on the planet, especially oceans, would be “irreversible for centuries to millennia.”

It also said continued warming will lead to an acceleration of “extreme events unprecedented in the observational record.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the time that there was irrefutable evidence that greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation were choking the planet.

He called the report a ‘code red’ for humanity.

In the context of Breakthrough, BlackRock’s Larry Fink said to Bloomberg: “The pathway for solar and wind, that was a 30-year pathway to make it competitive with hydrocarbons. We don’t have 30 years. We don’t have 10 years.”

Related Story: Venture Capitalist Chris Sacca Raises $800M For Climate Funds

Image Credit: “Bill Gates – the Nuclear Future” – Flickr

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