Breakthrough Energy Catalyst and Major Corporations Announce Partnership to Accelerate the Clean Energy Transition
Today, Breakthrough Energy announced that seven of the world’s leading corporations have committed to be the first anchor partners for Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, a groundbreaking program to accelerate the development of the climate-smart technologies necessary to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. These initial anchor partners include American Airlines (AAL), ArcelorMittal (MT), Bank of America (BAC), The BlackRock Foundation, Boston Consulting Group, General Motors (GM), and Microsoft (MSFT).
Breakthrough Energy Catalyst (“Catalyst”), a program within the larger Breakthrough Energy network founded by Bill Gates, is a new model for public-private sector partnership to help build the foundation of the net-zero economy. Catalyst brings together businesses, governments, philanthropies, and individuals to invest in critical climate technologies that will make it possible to reach net-zero emissions. The program will initially focus on four key areas: direct air capture, green hydrogen, long-duration energy storage, and sustainable aviation fuel.
Since Catalyst was introduced earlier this year, it has already announced large-scale partnerships with the European Commission and European Investment Bank and United States Department of Energy. Today’s announcement represents the first group of private sector organizations to formally join the Catalyst community of partners. These partners will come together with Breakthrough Energy to make significant investments in early commercial demonstration projects, offer perspectives on continued private sector engagement, provide insights on investment and offtake strategies, and help to encourage more companies to join Catalyst. Additional anchor partners may be announced leading up to the COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November.
“Avoiding a climate disaster will require a new industrial revolution. Half the technology needed to get to net-zero emissions either doesn’t exist yet or is too expensive for much of the world to afford. Catalyst is designed to change that and provide a more effective way to invest in our clean technology future,” said Bill Gates, Founder, Breakthrough Energy. “By working with a growing community of partners, Catalyst will take a global view of the energy innovation landscape – the key technologies, leading-edge companies, financing partners, and critical policies – and fund the projects that will have the greatest positive impact for our planet.”
Through direct investments, Catalyst and its partners will help reduce the costs of clean technologies so they can compete with and replace the greenhouse gas emitting counterparts we have today. This will lower what is referred to as Green Premiums and ultimately accelerate the widespread adoption of clean technologies.
Each of the initial Catalyst anchor partners is an industry leader that has taken meaningful steps to address climate change. These partners come from a range of industries including automotive, aviation, consulting, finance, and technology:
“We see immense promise in the mission of Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, and our investment is a vote of confidence in the difference-making potential of this unique and collaborative approach,” said Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO of American Airlines. “We have an ambitious vision of a low-carbon future for our airline and a plan to match, but we know our own efforts can only get us so far. By working in partnership with Catalyst, we’re helping accelerate and scale our industry’s nascent solutions, like sustainable aviation fuel, along with other technologies that will be necessary to reduce emissions from aviation and across the economy.”
“The Catalyst program is innovative and necessary. It brings together public and private finance with the objective of fast-tracking the deployment of projects which can deliver significant carbon reduction. For ArcelorMittal and the steel industry this kind of initiative is critically important. The steel industry knows how to decarbonize – essentially what is missing is the availability of clean energy at competitive prices that provides the foundation for us to really accelerate. That’s why, after discussing the purpose of Catalyst with Bill, we were very happy to join as an anchor partner,” said Aditya Mittal, CEO of ArcelorMittal. “Achieving net zero by 2050 needs a coordinated global drive the likes of which the world has never seen before. ArcelorMittal has its own comprehensive plan to decarbonize – with the first step being to achieve our group target of reducing emissions intensity by 25% by 2030 – but partnerships to scale up and accelerate progress are vital. There are so many interesting new companies and technologies that will help the world decarbonize – through both our XCarb™ fund and now Breakthrough Energy Catalyst we look forward to helping these companies accelerate their contribution.”
“Private sector leaders are working across a broad range of capabilities to mobilize the capital needed to decarbonize critical sectors and reach our net-zero goals,” said Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America. “Breakthrough Energy Catalyst can drive partnerships and innovation that help get us there.”
“The transition to a net-zero world and creating a more sustainable future is the shared responsibility of every citizen, corporation, and government. Mobilizing the $50 trillion in capital necessary to finance the global energy transition will require innovative new partnerships across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors,” said Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock. “Our partnership with the Catalyst program represents a five-year philanthropic commitment to invest in cutting-edge science that will help bring vital clean energy solutions forward – at scale – to achieve the world’s decarbonization goals and mitigate the uneven impact of climate change on communities.”
“Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is delighted to partner with Catalyst to bring the power of BCG’s consulting, climate, and industry expertise to accelerate the green industrial revolution,” said Christoph Schweizer, CEO of BCG as of October 1, 2021. “This new partnership with some of the world’s leading corporations will be critical to unlocking the potential to find, fund and scale the technology solutions which will close the gap to our vital climate targets.”
“Part of our vision at General Motors is to create a world with zero emissions. To realize this future, we need to foster innovative, equitable, and inclusive green technologies, inside and outside our company,” said Mary Barra, Chair and CEO of General Motors. “By joining with some of the world’s leading companies through Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, we’ll be able to accelerate promising clean energy solutions that help build the infrastructure the world needs to meet our collective climate goals.”
“It’s imperative that we accelerate the development of new technology that propels us toward a net zero economy this decade,” said Brad Smith, President and Vice Chair of Microsoft. “By playing all the roles that we can – customer, investor, and now, donor through our $100M grant in Breakthrough Energy Catalyst – Microsoft is committed to working across public and private sectors to help nurture and scale the most promising climate innovations.”
“Breakthrough Energy is proud to be working with this group of leading global companies that are taking serious, courageous steps toward reaching our climate goals,” said Jonah Goldman, Managing Director, Breakthrough Energy. “By joining Catalyst, these partners are demonstrating they are taking real action and willing to make meaningful investments in the right technologies, which will not only allow them to reach their own climate commitments but give the world a much better chance of achieving a net-zero economy by 2050.”
Breakthrough Energy Catalyst is also working with non-profit CDP to develop the Emerging Climate Technology Framework, which offers a sophisticated way to quantify the climate impact of clean technology investments. Companies will be able to use this framework to measure and project how their investments will lower Green Premiums and ultimately eliminate current and future emissions, offering a more rigorous way to evaluate and reward effective private sector climate action.
Catalyst and its partners are immediately beginning work to lower emissions and today launched a Request for Information site to gather input connected to Catalyst’s four initial technology focus areas, which will be open until October 20, 2021. Catalyst expects to announce its first formal Request for Proposal by the end of this year.
Founded by Bill Gates, Breakthrough Energy is dedicated to helping humanity avoid a climate disaster. Through investment vehicles, philanthropic programs, policy advocacy, and other activities, Breakthrough Energy is committed to scaling the technologies the world needs to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Visit www.breakthroughenergy.org for more information and connect with Breakthrough Energy on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Breakthrough Energy Catalyst is a first-of-its-kind model to finance, produce, and buy the new solutions that will underpin a zero-carbon economy. Catalyst seeks to bring together the public and private sectors to fund commercial-stage demonstration projects for critical decarbonization technologies. Catalyst will address the early deployment funding gap for these technologies and provide a structure to accelerate their commercialization. Catalyst will start by funding projects across four technologies: direct air capture, green hydrogen, long-duration energy storage, and sustainable aviation fuel. In the future, Catalyst intends to expand the same framework to other necessary innovations, like low-carbon steel and cement.
Kate Mikesell, Breakthrough Energy