The European research and innovation investment firm InnovFin and Breakthrough Energy will each provide half of the funding.
The European Union’s executive branch said the US$100-million fund would help “innovative European companies develop and bring radically new clean energy technologies to the market”.
Chaired by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the Breakthrough Energy Ventures is an investor-led fund with more than US$1 billion in committed capital to build “cutting-edge companies” to address climate change.
The venture made its first two investments in June in battery storage firm Form Energy and Quidnet Energy, a business working on technology to pump water into subsurface shale formations based on hydropower technologies.
The group has primarily focused its investment in North America, although it now says it plans to expand operations into the European Union, opening offices in Europe and investing in clean-energy companies within the bloc.
The fund’s patrons include Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, Virgin boss Richard Branson, Alibaba guru Jack Maand SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son.
Gates, the former tech giant, said technology was needed to mitigate climate change and Brussels had shown valuable leadership with “impressive” investment in research and development.
“The scientists and entrepreneurs who are developing innovations to address climate change need capital to build companies that can deliver those innovations to the global market,” Gates said. “Breakthrough Energy Europe is designed to provide that capital.”
“With any luck” Gates added, “we’ll be able to fully invest [the European Union’s funding] in less than a couple of years, and then we can come back and scale this up.”
Brussels said the fund would focus on reducing carbon emissions and promoting efficiency in “the areas of electricity, transport, agriculture, manufacturing and buildings”.
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said pooling public and private investment in clean energy was “key to enabling long-term solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If Europe is to have a future that can guarantee the well-being of all its citizens, it will need to be climate-friendly and sustainable.”
Bill Gates (right) with Apple founder Steve Jobs in 2007. Picture credit: Wikimedia