The future of climate change research is still unclear with the incoming Trump Administration, but billionaire Bill Gates is launching a new endeavor to ensure these projects can survive.
Gates and his fellow billionaires unveiled a new investment fund called Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) on Monday. It’s an extension of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which Gates founded in December 2015 in order to unite investors interested in developing new energy technologies.
BEV’s mission is designed to be both broad and scientific, according to Fortune.
The fund will consider startups operating at different stages of development working in a broad range of energy sectors like transportation and energy system efficiency.
Some of Gates’ own investments include fledgling companies like Aquion Energy, a startup trying to create batteries derived from non-toxic materials like saltwater, wrote The New York Times.
Clean energy projects have ambitious goals, but struggle to deliver good returns on investment since it could take a long time to deliver a good product.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a study in July 2016 finding venture capital (VC) investors put an approximate $25 billion into clean energy projects between 2006 and 2011 only to lose over half of it.
“The results are stark— cleantech offered VCs a dismal risk/return profile, dragged down by companies developing new materials, chemistries, or processes that never achieved manufacturing scale,” according to the study.
BEV says it hopes to counteract these problems by collaborating with other investors, governments, research institutions and corporate partners to create, “an investor-led fund with internal scientific expertise, a long-term horizon, and a tolerance and understanding of the investment risks required to transform energy markets,” per the official statement.
“The mission, experience and global networks of BEV investors will allow it to attract the best scientists, entrepreneurs and private sector experts to guide the fund’s trajectory,” the statement added.
The executives will invest up to $1 billion in the fund with the expectation it will have a 20-year lifespan.