If you think of Bill Gates, you will probably think of a skilled entrepreneur who raised one of the greatest companies of all times: Microsoft. But apart from revolutionizing the tech space, Gates is also committed to transform the real world through different initiatives aimed to tackle climate change. With blind faith in progress and in the potential of human beings, Gates, together with the European Commission President (Ursula von der Leyen) and the European Investment Bank President (Werner Hoyer) have launched Breakthrough Energy EU Catalyst, an ambitious program that may change, for the better, the world as we know it.
What is it about?
In a few words, this program brings together the European Investment Bank (using Commission resources) and Breakthrough Energy Catalyst (founded by Bill Gates) to promote a technological transformation by moving from the greenhouse gas-producing tools to clean, reliable and affordable energy for all. That means that every single activity in modern life as well as all sectors should cease their CO2 emissions and use alternative energy solutions. To achieve that global objective, the EU-Catalyst will select the projects that contribute to reduce the emissions in those sectors by providing 1) Equity investment, 2) Grant funding, and/or 3) Offtake agreement.
The EU-Catalyst Partnership is expected to mobilise €820 million ($1 billion) in climate investment between 2022 and 2027. This budget will intend to boost innovative technologies targeting the European Green Deal ambitions and the EU’s 2030 climate objectives.
To achieve that, the European Investment Bank and Breakthrough Energy Catalyst will provide equivalent amounts of grants and financial investments in the projects. Managed under InvestEU, Horizon Europe and the Innovation Fund will provide the funding from the EU, and Breakthrough Energy Catalyst will find and encourage partners to invest or purchase the green products resulting from the program. By supporting climate-smart technologies, this program will accelerate and boost the transition towards sustainable industrial ecosystems in Europe.
Projects and objectives
The selected projects will be large-scale, pre-commercial demonstrations of clean technologies in order to show at scale, lower the costs and accelerate their deployment.
The objective is to reach a zero-carbon economy by financing, producing and buying solutions, so public and private sectors will come together to fund commercial-stage demonstration projects for critical decarbonization technologies.
The EU-Catalyst partnership will target and fund technology with a strong potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but which cannot scale and compete with fossil fuels because of its cost. Their focus will be mainly on four technology sectors: clean hydrogen, direct air capture, sustainable aviation fuel, and long-duration energy storage.
Climate change is currently one of the main concerns of governments and countries. As technology has evolved exponentially in the last years, now we can see that it is possible, yet challenging, to make a real change and move from highly polluting sources to cleaner ones so as to preserve the environment.
The EU-Catalyst partnership aims to achieve this ambitious objective by funding technologies with the potential to significantly contribute to the economy’s decarbonization. And perhaps thanks to this initiative the future may not look as dark as some may think, but rather green as we all would love.
By Sara Gavidia