In 2020, Amazon launched its $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund to support the development of sustainable and decarbonizing technologies and services. The fund invests in visionary companies whose products and solutions will help facilitate the transition to a low carbon economy. That’s wonderful news that deserves applause from the cleantech community.
The Climate Pledge Fund has already made significant investments in CarbonCure, Pachama, Redwood Materials, Rivian, TurnTide Technologies, BETA Technologies, Ion Energy, and ZeroAvia. Those companies will be able to use the investment funds from Amazon to continue developing and scaling their products and services.
The hope is for The Climate Pledge signatories and other companies to take advantage of these products and services to generate greener economies while Amazon continues to accept applications for The Climate Pledge Fund.
This week, Amazon announced that The Climate Pledge Fund is investing in three more companies working to develop sustainable technologies. They are Resilient Power, a company building electric vehicle charging technology; CMC Machinery, a company with technology that makes custom sized boxes that eliminate the need for single use plastic packaging; and Infinium, an ultra-low carbon electrofuels company. With these additions, the Fund has now invested in 11 businesses, all of which are pioneering products and services that will help facilitate the world’s transition to a low carbon economy.
“We’re proud to invest in these innovative technologies through The Climate Pledge Fund, and we continue to search for and identify revolutionary companies that are uniquely positioned to help accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy,” says Kara Hurst, vice president and head of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon in a blog post. “These companies span multiple industries and offer new pathways for Amazon to achieve the goals of The Climate Pledge, a commitment co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism for companies to become net-zero carbon by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.”
Resilient Power builds efficient and effective transformer-based electric vehicle charging technology that enables EV fast charging infrastructure to be built at one-tenth the size and installation time of traditional EV charging technology. It is capable of charging up to 24 vehicles at a time without requiring expensive distribution grid upgrades.
The Climate Pledge Fund is making its first round of investment in the company and views the its technology as a step toward Amazon’s goal of deploying 100,000 electric delivery vehicles by 2030. Resilient Power’s technology has the potential to help Amazon continue to expand its fleet of EV delivery vans in the coming years while ensuring those vehicles can be quickly recharged to support delivery of customer packages.
“As transportation transitions to electric, we must consider how to deploy charging stations at mass scale without jeopardizing the grid. Companies managing electric vehicle fleets demand viable, reliable, fast EV charging,” says Tom Keister, CEO of Resilient Power. “Our partnership with Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund will allow us to build the infrastructure our customers need to support and accelerate EV adoption, and then later expand our technology to other renewables, storage, and microgrid markets.”
On its website, the company says, “Converting power from the existing electric grid and delivering it to EV charging stations required a large footprint, slow installation, and expensive upgrades just to get a few stations online. Resilient Power’s solid state, plug and play technology mitigates the complexity of harnessing power from the grid, while delivering four times the charging capacity of earlier systems at a lower cost in one tenth the footprint and in one tenth the time.” Pretty impressive stuff!
CMC Machinery uses technology that designs and manufactures custom-sized boxes tailored to the dimensions of the items in each order. This results in accurately sized packages that eliminate the need for single use plastic padding while still protecting items during shipping.
Amazon expects that by the end of 2022, the technology could reduce the cubic volume for each box by 24% on average and the use of approximately 1 billion plastic air pillows by the end of 2022. “This investment further strengthens our long standing partnership with Amazon and our shared commitment in reducing the environmental impact related to e-commerce packaging. We are proud that our technology has become a true activator of The Climate Pledge and contributes to the transition toward a carbon-neutral future,” said Francesco Ponti, CEO and strategic business development director of CMC Machinery.
If you have ever opened a package from Amazon only to find a smaller box inside surrounded by a dozen or more air pillows, you will appreciate the need for more efficient, less wasteful packaging.
Infinium has developed a renewable fuels technology known as Infinium Electrofuels. Its ultra-low carbon fuels can be used to replace diesel fuel in air transport, marine freight, and heavy truck fleets. Infinium technology converts renewable power into green hydrogen and then uses this hydrogen and waste carbon dioxide to produce ultra-low carbon fuels that could transition Amazon’s transportation network away from fossil fuels.
Amazon has now made two rounds of investments in Infinium to help bring this climate-friendly solution to market. This next stage of funding will support delivery of the industry’s first Infinium Electrofuels, and develop large scale electrofuels facilities capable of producing nearly 40 million gallons of clean fuel per year. Each facility will also mitigate more than 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere — equivalent to planting nearly 5 million tree seedlings that take 10 years to grow according to the EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.
This is all excellent news. Who isn’t in favor of new ways of charging the batteries in electric vehicles in a way that uses less space and limits the need for expensive grid upgrades? Less waste in shipping and cleaner fuels for all those delivery trucks delivering packages to Amazon customers every day are desirable outcomes as well.
Unfortunately, Amazon is also one of several large corporations — including Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Disney — who are lobbying furiously against Joe Biden’s climate initiatives. With a market capitalization of $1.7 trillion, frankly $2 billion seems like chump change. If it feels unkind to criticize a company that is at least making an effort, remember — to whom much is given, much is expected. We expect more.
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