Fellows Innovation Takes Center Stage at the Cleantech Forum North America

Breakthrough Energy Fellows are leading the conversation about the future of clean energy.

In January 2024, company leaders from Breakthrough Energy and Breakthrough Energy Ventures joined other climate professionals at the Cleantech Forum North America to discuss the future of clean energy. Fellows had the opportunity to pitch their technologies, build relationships with investors, and present the challenges and opportunities faced by innovators working on early-stage climate technologies.

Throughout the year, Breakthrough Energy works closely with the Cleantech Group to map out the future of global climate technology ecosystems, and engage in deep dives by country. This partnership enables us to gain insight into technologies around the world, and discover areas with high potential impact at the discovery stage. Cleantech is our key partner in this ecosystem mapping, and the synergies across our organizations were highlighted throughout the conference.

BE Fellow Molly Yang, Co-Founder & CEO of Hgen, on a panel with other hydrogen entrepreneurs.

BE Fellows made important connections and led conversations about what is needed to move critical climate solutions forward. BE Fellow Molly Yang joined other clean hydrogen entrepreneurs on a panel discussing the challenges and opportunities of deploying hardtech climate solutions. She is the Co-Founder & CEO of Hgen, whose technology uses renewable electricity to break water into clean hydrogen energy at higher efficiency with lower costs. Her team is navigating the landscape to scale their alkaline electrolyzer for clean hydrogen production.

Ted McKlveen, CEO of BE Fellows project Verne spoke on a panel about the role of hydrogen in decarbonizing heavy-duty transport. Heavy-duty transport is one of the highest emitters in the transportation sector, and Verne is building high-density, low-cost hydrogen storage systems to address these challenges. Ted outlined three benefits of scaling hydrogen fuel cells to decarbonize heavy-duty transportation.

Several other BE Fellows from projects CemVision AB, QueensCarbon, RIFT, Macrocycle, and NitroVoltApS participated in the Forum’s innovation showcases, presenting their technologies and climate solutions from hydrothermal technologies to carbon-free heat.

BE Fellows leaders Abigail Mathieson, Meghan Bader, and Ashley Grosh.

Meghan Bader, Director of Recruitment and Selection for BE Fellows, joined Cleantech Group Research Manager Anthony Deorsey on stage for a discussion titled, “Seeing Around the Corner: Drawing Tomorrow’s Technology Out of Early-Stage Ecosystems.” She spoke about the urgency of investing in technologies in the discovery stage, explaining, “​​We need to reach net zero emissions by 2050, but nearly 50% of the technologies we need have not been developed or commercialized. We need more ideas to be incubated and tested to help push us to find bold new solutions.”

Meghan talked about the Fellows program’s role in accelerating promising technologies at this early development stage. She highlighted the importance of partnerships such as the one with Cleantech Group in achieving this mission—particularly in building the Fellows global pipeline and connecting innovators to potential customers, corporate partners, and investors at events like this one.

Cohort 3 Innovator and Business Fellows

After the Cleantech Forum, Cohort 3 Innovator and Business Fellows gathered in person for the first time at a Breakthrough Energy Fellows offsite. They had opportunities to deepen relationships across the cohort through team-building activities, brainstorming sessions, and participation in interactive workshops. The program also included keynotes from Ryan Panchadsaram, Advisor to the Chairman at Kleiner Perkins, and Jason Huang, CEO of TS Conductor. The week closed out with lively 1:1 strategy sessions where Business Fellows and Innovator Fellows collaborated on topics like technology commercialization, corporate partnerships, fundraising, and more.

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