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Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), the clean-tech venture capital fund led by Bill Gates, has raised $1 billion for a second round of investments after backing 45 startups with its first billion, Bloomberg reports.
Editorial office / New York

Major American companies such as American Airlines, Microsoft and General Motors are backing the fund. Gates wants to use it to accelerate the upscaling of technologies that must reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to zero. BEV is therefore mainly investing in promising existing technology that is currently too small-scale and too expensive to make a difference to the climate.

Gates specifically mentions the direct capture and removal of emissions from the air, green hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuel and long-term energy storage. “We need to invest in large-scale commercial plants, which are too risky for traditional investors,” he says. The development of solar energy has shown that it is possible to successfully scale up sustainable innovations, but it took 50 years until not just calculators, but entire cities could run on solar power.

“We cannot wait another 50 years. If we want to avoid a climate disaster, we need a technological transformation on a scale and at a speed we haven’t yet seen. That’s going to take governments, researchers, public and private institutions working together and investing in the innovations we need to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.”

Bloomberg emphasises that making money is still the main objective of the BEV fund, but that the investment horizon is 20 years rather than the more usual five years.

Image: Breakthrough Energy/YouTube