We need significant innovation now to develop the clean technologies that will help the world get to net-zero emissions by 2050. To do this, the scientists, engineers, business experts, and teams behind groundbreaking climate innovations need investment and support to ensure their early-stage clean technologies have the resources to get adopted quickly.
The Breakthrough Energy Fellows (BE Fellows) program identifies and supports the best and brightest individuals and teams across the globe working to develop, scale, and commercialize technologies that have the potential to reduce carbon emissions by at least 500 million tons per year by 2050. In some cases, this means nurturing ideas until they are ready for venture capital investment. In others, it means enabling technology acquisition, non-traditional financing, government partnerships, joint ventures, or other pathways.
Fellowship Program at a Glance
The 2021 inaugural BE Fellows cohort comes from leading research institutions in North America, Europe, and New Zealand. They’re focused on technologies that will be critical to move the world to net-zero emissions by 2050, including electrofuels, cement, steel, hydrogen, and fertilizer. Overtime, the program will fund a global portfolio with hundreds of Fellows, each year expanding its geographic reach and technology focus areas.
BE Fellows fall into two categories:
- Innovator Fellows are world-leading scientists and engineers ready to commercialize their critical climate technology.
- Business Fellows are experienced professionals who want to build a commercial venture in the climate space.
Teams of Innovator and Business Fellows who have already formed may also participate in the program.
The Fellows program provides patient capital to support innovators on their path to commercialization, including a stipend for living expenses, funding for technology and product development, access to scientific and business expertise, investors, policy experts, and our world-class network of partners. All Fellows also benefit from a unique curriculum designed by Breakthrough Energy covering a wide range of topics.
Explore the Projects
The BE Fellows program focuses support on innovations across Breakthrough Energy’s Five Grand Challenges. We are pleased to welcome eight projects to the inaugural Fellows program developing clean innovations in hydrogen, electrofuels, cement, steel, and fertilizer.
The Technologies That Matter
The 2021 Fellows are focused on technologies that will be critical to move the world to net-zero emissions by 2050: electrofuels, cement, steel, hydrogen, and fertilizer.
Electrofuels (also called synthetic fuels) are fuels produced from electricity, carbon dioxide, and water. Electrofuels can help manage variations in electricity production, reduce the need for biofuels, and aid in decarbonizing transportation sectors where fuel switching is difficult, such as shipping. New electrofuel technologies are showing promise to convert carbon dioxide into renewable feedstocks, fuels, and commodities.
Concrete is the most widely consumed resource in the world after water, and the production of cement – the main component of concrete – is one of the biggest polluters on the planet. New technologies that eliminate emissions from the cement-making process have the potential to reduce 8% of all emissions worldwide.
More than 99% of the world’s steel is rolled after casting, which requires repeated fossil fuel-fired heating and cooling that produces a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions. New technology that replaces the fossil fuel heating process with a low-temperature, single-step mechanical process can significantly reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
Green hydrogen, hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources and water, can eliminate several gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions per year from hard-to-decarbonize sectors, including long-haul trucking, shipping, aviation, steel, cement, and chemical production, and it can provide long-duration energy storage. New fuel cell and electrolyzer technologies can reduce the cost of producing green hydrogen at scale, and new high-density, low-cost storage systems have the potential to reduce hydrogen storage costs by 40%.
Currently, fossil fuels are the only economically viable way to produce ammonia, a key component in fertilizers. But for each ton of ammonia produced, three tons of carbon dioxide are emitted, making this process one of the most polluting in the world. New technologies that create ammonia at low-temperatures, and in normal atmospheric conditions, can significantly reduce emissions and pave the way for localized, small-scale green ammonia production.
Climate innovators are critical players in the fight to solve the climate crisis. These brilliant minds are working every day to introduce novel technologies and disruptive approaches to a variety of industries, which will have the power to transform and reimagine our sustainable future. In order to succeed, these leaders need a uniquely tailored set of resources, and that’s why we created the Breakthrough Energy Fellows Program.