NEWS December 8, 2023

Climate Tech Takes a Starring Role at COP28

The event that has turned on policy for nearly 30 years has paid special attention to the technological innovation that may have a chance to solve climate problems.

Photo: IAEA Imagebank / CC BY 2.0

Climate technology is taking a starring role at CoP28, the latest United Nations Climate Change Conference held this year in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The event that has turned on policy for nearly 30 years has paid special attention to the technological innovation that may have a chance to solve climate problems. Without departing from policy, however, CoP28 has directed some of the more than USD $80 billion pledged thus far to fight climate change to favor climate tech startups and projects by global tech titans.

Startups in low-and middle-income countries are benefitting from the attention. The conference’s organizers partnered with the US-based non-profit New Energy Nexus, to launch the NEX-COP28 Climate Tech Startup Accelerator, in which four out of five of the 100 startups are based in the Global South.

Million-dollar investment in climate tech startups

New Energy Nexus has partnered with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office and Hub71, a tech ‘ecosystem’ backed by the Government of Abu Dhabi, to support climate tech companies that headquarter in Abu Dabi. The partnership has attracted (USD) $3.2 million for climate tech startups.

“Diverse entrepreneurs are essential elements to the clean energy transition due to their ability to innovate quickly, disrupt industries, and launch and scale rapidly,” Danny Kenny, CEO at New Energy Nexus, said in a statement. “With ADIO and HUB71, we have well established partners to support startups around the world to access this huge potential and accelerate climate solutions across the region.”

The NEX-COP28 startups include promising ideas such as the Pakistan-based Aero Engine Craft’s contrail-free aircraft engines, Senegal-based Ibriz further developing solar water pump technology for smallholder farmers, and India-based Terracarb, developing graphene manufacturing platforms to decarbonize the construction industry.

The complete list of startups is available to browse.

Multi-million investments in tech titans

Moving up to the opposite end of the scale spectrum, Bill Gates’ investment platform Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, in partnership with the European Commission and European Investment Bank, announced a €240 million funding commitment for two first-of-a-kind projects at Ørsted and Energy Dome, and Catalyst will invest (USD) $75 million in Infinium’s Project Roadrunner in the United States.

Ørsted is developing FlagshipONE, the largest e-Methanol project in Europe. Energy Dome is working on Ottana, a CO2 Battery Project for long-term energy storage. And Infinium’s Project Roadrunner is a commercial-scale Power-to-Liquids eFuels facility.

At the same event on Dec. 2, Google and its partner Project InnerSpace announced the beta launch of GeoMap, a geothermal exploration tool and another first-of-its-kind project.

A coalition for investment in climate tech

The Innovate for Climate Tech Coalition launched in the lead-up to CoP28 to support Global South climate tech development, scale climate tech globally, improve access to knowledge and facilitate partnerships between climate tech companies, financiers and others in their ecosystem.

At CoP28, the coalition announced a new (USD) $750 million financial platform for maturing climate tech businesses under the auspices of Investcorp. Investcorp joins a coalition of dozens of global banks and multinational organizations that are anchored by three entities that include the Abu Dhabi tech hub Masdar City, the Chinese Internet company Tencent and a Masdar City startup tech accelerator called Catalyst.

Other members of the coalition include Siemens, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Flat6Labs, Gulf Capital, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, Climate Collective, Startup Nation Central, Rainmaking, Belt and Road Environmental Technology Exchange and Transfer Center, Foresight Group, and Principes Ventures.

A partnership-forging tool for climate tech startups

Climate tech startups now have a new place to turn for forging partnerships, attracting financing and spreading the word about their work. At CoP28, the climate tech coalition launched TanLIVE, a digital hub powered by Tencent. TanLIVE provides collaborative tools that include community networking, project listings, and access to a vetted ecosystem of technology and financial solutions.

The platform is publicly available now and launched with 1,000 registered, vetted users from sectors that include ICT, textiles, transportation, construction, energy, nature-based solutions, and packaging.

“By providing an online platform for the exchange of ideas among like-minded partners around the world who are committed to working on climate solutions, TanLIVE fosters collaboration and empowers the global community to collectively address climate challenges and drive innovation towards a sustainable future,” Dr. Hao Xu, Vice President of Tencent Sustainable Social Value and Head of Tencent Carbon Neutrality Lab said in a statement.

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