HSBC invests US$100m in Breakthrough Energy Catalyst

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Americas, EMEA, Asia
Tessa Walsh

HSBC is investing US$100m in Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, a climate technology investment fund founded by Bill Gates that is scaling up financing to decarbonise the most polluting industrial sectors.

The fund is part of Gates’ larger Breakthrough Energy network and was launched in mid-2021 to rapidly develop climate technologies to support the goal of reaching net-zero emissions globally by 2050.

It is investing in four climate technologies – direct air capture, clean hydrogen, long-duration energy storage, and sustainable aviation fuel, which are expected to help sectors including power generation, transport and heavy industry meet emissions targets, and is intending to expand the framework to low-carbon steel and cement.

“A small number of green technologies will reshape the industrial landscape of the world over the next five to 10 years,” said HSBC chief executive Noel Quinn.

Catalyst uses a blended financing facility to make large capital investments to bring down the cost of the emerging technology, improving commercial viability and increasing adoption.

HSBC is an anchor investor and will also join its leadership council to share views on energy transition opportunities in markets including Asia and the Middle East. The bank’s investment will also help it to meet its own 2050 net-zero emissions target.

Impact platform Builders Vision has also joined Catalyst as an anchor investor and BMO Financial Group plans to become a scaling partner and will finance US$50m over five years.

Catalyst has announced partnerships with the European Commission, the US Department of Energy, and the UK government, and has so far launched requests for proposals for projects in the UK and Europe.