The Bill Gates-backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures investment company is targeting another $1 billion for its third fund to invest in companies that address climate change, the Financial Times (FT) reported.
As a result of this latest fund, the number of companies Breakthrough invested in would increase by about 40% to approximately 140 firms operating in sectors from energy to agriculture. “We have a little more than $1 billion in funds one and two, and fund three will be about the same size,” Gates told FT.
The first fund closed with around $1 billion, and the second 2021 fund closed with $1.25 billion. Investors on the Breakthrough Energy Ventures board include Jeff Bezos, Mukesh Ambani, Reid Hoffman, and Sir Chris Hohn.
The investment company has supported companies such as green hydrogen electrolyzer producer ElectricHydrogen, green cement producer Solidia, and Fleetzero, which develops battery technology for cargo shipping.
Gates, who is known for his support of climate change technology, has remained skeptical about carbon capture and storage (CCS). According to him, the technology is not likely to become economically viable for mass-scale use long-term. “It’s kind of a brute force solution,” he told FT. “It always costs money.”
The ultimate goal is to reach a stage where you’re ready to tax emission activities equal to the marginal cost of capture and subsequently allocate those funds to capture. This is the path to achieving zero emissions, he explained. “But for most cases, you should use an alternative technique rather than emitting and then paying for capturing,” he said. “For everything you can, you want to solve it by never generating the carbon dioxide.”
However, in line with the belief in the continuing significance of carbon removal technologies, the Breakthrough funds invest in direct air capture startups.
While oil and gas-producing nations like Saudi Arabia have advocated for the incorporation of emissions capture into global climate change agreements, Gates told FT they are not implementing CCS at scale, “they’re not funding the companies that work on CCS.”