The Breakthrough Energy Catalyst program is playing a pivotal role in the deployment of key clean technologies needed for the green energy transition. Our goal is to accelerate the deployment of projects by supporting key technologies at the crucial moment when they are ready for the world but need a push to scale. Catalyst both funds large demonstration projects and invests in first-of-a-kind projects that use emerging climate technologies.
Since launching the Catalyst platform in the summer of 2021, the team has been working hard to develop and refine its approach to funding emerging climate tech infrastructure projects. After signing an MOU in November 2021, we have begun operationalizing our partnership with the European Commission and European Investment Bank: 840 billion euros to build large-scale, commercial demonstration projects in Europe that fall within our five areas of priority investment. With the partnerships, team, and approach in place, Catalyst is moving forward with its mission to fund impactful projects.
Why is it important to invest at this stage?
Catalyst supports companies that have proven their technologies and are ready to be deployed at scale. Historically, projects for emerging technologies often struggle to access low-cost capital because they have high green premiums and frequently face unforeseen challenges and costs, making them risky investments. Catalyst funding for early commercial facilities can reduce risk for follow-up investments and accelerate the deployment of the clean technologies critical for reducing emissions.
Infrastructure requires a large amount of capital, and emerging technologies in the climate space cannot get off the ground without it. Support from the Catalyst platform provides capital to de-risk projects for later-stage investors while reducing the barriers that prevent technologies from progressing from development to deployment.
The focus of Catalyst is to de-risk emerging technologies so that they become attractive to traditional infrastructure investors. Catalyst has raised more than $1 billion in capital to fund projects. The funding may take the form of either grants to earlier-stage demonstration projects or equity investments to first-of-a-kind commercial projects.
Funding for infrastructure is just one component of de-risking technologies. To be successful in scaling projects, companies also need the infrastructure and project development expertise. Catalyst provides not only critical funding, but also infrastructure expertise to lower the engineering and other operational risks of promising technologies. We unite companies with key stakeholders such as investors, off-takers, and governments to enable demonstrations or build commercial-scale projects.
Five areas of priority investment:
Catalyst uses two main criteria when investing in projects: impact and replicability. We care about the global impact of emerging technologies that have progressed past the discovery and development phases and are ready to be deployed. We have identified several key technology areas that we believe have the ability to make a difference at scale:
- Clean Hydrogen to decarbonize industry and transportation;
- Long Duration Energy Storage to provide cleaner and more reliable power in addition to heat;
- Sustainable Aviation Fuels to power aviation;
- Direct Air Capture to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere;
- Manufacturing to decarbonize cement, steel, plastics, textiles, and fertilizers.
Meeting our climate goals and achieving an emissions-free future requires investments in every state of innovation. Catalyst’s role in accelerating late-stage innovation and de-risking emerging climate technologies is a critical piece of the puzzle.