The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) announced $10 million in funding to the first ever Breakthrough Energy Fellows — entrepreneurs and researchers who will work to develop, scale, and commercialize the most promising decarbonization technologies that have the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 500 million tons per year by 2050.
The 2021 Breakthrough Energy Fellows will focus on hydrogen, electrofuels, cement, steel, and fertilizer.
CZI co-founders and co-CEOs Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg said: “We believe in the power of innovation and collaboration to drive impactful change, and are proud to support the new Breakthrough Energy Fellows to create and scale climate and clean energy technologies that will help us reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Climate change is one of the most urgent challenges of our time, and we’re hopeful that supporting leading scientists and entrepreneurs to bring their inventions from the lab to broad scale will accelerate the pace of advancements and the move towards a clean energy future.”
As part of an exploration of innovative and underfunded ways to help address climate change, CZI is also committing nearly $23 million for a small portfolio of organizations that are focusing on building the field of carbon dioxide removal (CDR), as well as investing in CDR technologies.
Carbon removal encompasses a range of approaches—from direct air capture to mineralization—that absorb existing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in a stable form or use it in products like concrete, which can also help reduce emissions in hard-to-decarbonize industries.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), carbon dioxide removal will play a pivotal role in reaching the ambitious goal of limiting global temperature increase to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.