Bill Gates wants to spend $1.5bn on clean technologies, including hydrogen, through a new partnership with the US Department of Energy (US DOE).
“Clean hydrogen is a great example of a very promising technology with a high green premium,” the Microsoft and Breakthrough Energy founder said today (August 31) when he spoke on the US Department of Energy’s (US DOE’s) Hydrogen Shot Summit.
Expressing a passion for hydrogen and clean fuels, Gates explained that whilst the clean fuel is very promising the price must be right, not just for the US, but for the whole world.
“Breakthrough Energy announced a partnership with the US DOE a few weeks ago to accelerate the understanding of these technologies [clean technologies] and bring those high costs down.
“Together, we will participate in projects in four different areas: hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuel, direct air capture and long duration energy storage.
“Through blended finance, we’ll find a way to decrease the costs of these products and aim to mobilise $0.5bn here in the US on these projects in the next three years.
“A significant amount of resources for this work would come from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, if it becomes law.”
Undoubtably keen to fast-forward a clean future Gates welcomed that the Biden administration has already recognised that a huge barrier to going green is costs.
“The Biden administration clearly recognises that a huge barrier to reducing emissions is that the clean approaches we have today cost so much more than doing it the old way,” he said.
“We need to reduce these price gaps. We need to scale up, get on the learning curve and make it affordable.”
“No country or company will adopt clean fuels or buy green concrete and steel if they are significantly more expensive than the products they replace. And without customers, we don’t get the volume.”
“So, this driving down the green premium through innovations and policy, technologies and markets is central to meeting a goal of zero emissions by 2050.”
Gates’ efforts and ambitions will all fall under Breakthrough Energy’s Catalyst project, a new model that hopes to bring together the public and private sectors.
Explaining the goal of the programme, Gates continued, “The goal is simply to accelerate the understanding of these technologies and bring down those high costs.”
Already, cutting down the cost of hydrogen is a big goal for the DOE. In June, the Department said it want to slash the cost of the green fuel by 80% to $1 this decade.
Welcoming this effort, Gates said, “The goal of cutting the premium by 80% is a fantastic and ambitious goal.
“We don’t know which path will be followed to do this. There are many different ideas, and we’ll have to innovate or try out different things. We’ll have to see how things work as we scale up.”
Microsoft: Becoming part of the larger push for a hydrogen economy
Microsoft: a household name all over the world and a brand synonymous with computer software. Over the past four and a half decades, Microsoft has helped people and organisations use technology to transform how they work, live and play, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Usage of the technology giant’s collaboration tool Microsoft Teams has skyrocketed during the health crisis as companies looked for ways to stay connected with their staff. And just like many other companies around the world during this time, Teams now plays a huge part in H2 View’s everyday life too. So when we got the opportunity to talk to Microsoft recently about its hydrogen ambitions, it was fitting to have such a discussion on the digital tool.
The past 18 months have been filled with uncertainty resulting from the pandemic. But whilst some airlines and retailers collapsed, oil prices plunged below zero and death counts soared, some companies managed to keep their heads above the water and even learn to swim. One of these companies is Microsoft, which has been ranked 15th by Forbes in its Global 2000 list1. Microsoft is currently thriving, and in more ways than just software and technology.
Founded by Bill Gates in 1975, at a time when most Americans used typewriters, Microsoft forged a path towards clean energies and greener future last year when it unveiled plans to be carbon negative by 2030. By 2050, Microsoft has committed to remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted, either directly or by electrical consumption, since it was founded – a momentous goal!
As well as unveiling its carbon neutrality plans, Microsoft also announced in July 2020 that it was trialling hydrogen fuel cells for backup power at its datacentres – a move that really set the stage for what every technology company around the world could achieve with clean fuels if they put their minds to it. It was this hydrogen-fuelled data centre approach, along with many of the company’s other clean energy ambitions, that took centre stage during our exclusive interview.
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