Energy Investment: Gates, Bezos Invest $1B in 7 New Energy Startups


Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and a number of other billionaires are investing in seven new energy startups committed to cutting carbon emissions and harnessing resources more efficiently through a $1 billion fund called Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV).

In June, BEV committed $15.4 million to two battery storage startups. Gates has contributed to many other energy startups, once commenting “[i]t’s crazy how little we’re funding energy.”

Corporate interest, along with individual billionaire contributions, in the clean energy sector are growing in popularity. Corporate clean power purchases reached a record 7.2 GW this year and are expected to reach almost 10 GW by the end of 2018.

The startups themselves cover a variety of clean power initiatives and carbon reduction strategies relevant to the energy sector.

The Startups
Startup  Product Contribution to the sector
QuantumScape Solid-state battery Solid-state batteries, which have been called the “the Holy Grail” of battery storage, are central to the electric vehicle industry’s quest to give their automobiles longer range and quicker charging times. QuantumScape claims to be “redefining” the race to fully develop the technology.
Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) Fusion Energy Fusion technology has been floated for many years as an clean and limitless energy source, but one with significant challenges. The CFS approach fuses gases at extremely high temperatures within a magnetic casing which creates plasma, an “electrically charged gas.” The largest challenge surrounding the science is how to safely and effectively harness the reaction. CFS says a new superconductor that “has reached industrial maturity” can be used to develop the technology quickly and economically.
Zero Mass Water Solar technology creates clean drinking water Rising droughts can be an area of concern for utilities, particularly across the arid Southwest. This technology utilizes solar power to capture and absorb water particles in the air, forming water that can be taken advantage of by drought-stricken communities.
DMC Biotechnologies Biofuel Biofuels have seen some use in the utility sector, although some states are making strides to more fully integrate the fuel. DMC aims to develop biofuel technology more efficiently and at lower cost to developers.
Fervo Energy Geothermal Energy Geothermal power contributes approximately 0.4% of current U.S. electric power generation according to the startup, which says the potential of the carbon-free source is much larger. Fervo says its methods could potentially unlock 100 GW of geothermal electric power in the U.S. by 2050.
CarbonCure Carbon emissions reduction The manufacturing of cement trails only fossil fuels and land-use change as a major producer of carbon emissions. CarbonCure recycles carbon dioxide into concrete, lowering emissions.
Pivot Bio Synthetic Nitrogen Synthetic Nitrogen is a form of fertilizer that has been linked to various environmental concerns but is also heavily used by the agricultural industry. Pivot Bio is in the process of developing a self-fertilizing method.


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