Bill Gates’s $1 billion clean energy fund just opened up its checkbook for the first time. Breakthrough Energy Ventures will announce today it’s investing in a host of startups developing technology that can confront the growing dangers of climate change.
The $1 billion Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund is also pouring money into geothermal, grid storage, biofuels and more.
Among the first selected was a startup in Berkeley, California, that is applying fracking techniques to the geothermal industry in the hope of converting far more of the planet’s latent heat into a source of clean energy.
If Fervo Energy’s technologies work as intended, they could enable existing geothermal sites to boost electricity production, or allow entirely new areas to tap into heat within the earth’s crust. Increasing geothermal generation could ease the broader shift to cleaner energy systems, because it can provide always-on power or ramp-up as needed, unlike variable wind and solar farms, according to technologyreview.com.
The other businesses on Breakthrough’s inaugural list of portfolio companies, first reported by Quartz early Wednesday and now posted on Breakthrough’s site, include grid-storage startup Form Energy; solid-state battery company QuantumScape; MIT’s fusion spinout Commonwealth Fusion Systems; biofuels firm DMC Biotechnologies; Pivot Bio, which is developing replacements for nitrogen fertilizer; CarbonCure, which is storing carbon dioxide in concrete; Quidnet, which makes subsurface pumped hydro storage; and Zero Mass Water, which created technology to pull water from air.
The investment amounts haven’t been disclosed.