Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has joined a group of investors in renewable energy storage research and development, after pledging towards a $35m investment in cleantech firm Aquion Energy.
Aquion is developing a water-based battery system that uses saltwater to conduct electricity and stores wind and solar energy when this is not immediately available.
Scott Pearson, CEO of Aquion, said, “We are very pleased to have attracted such a strong set of new investors to complement our existing backers. This group will provide critical operational and financial support to the company.
“The Aquion team is very excited about launching our initial storage products later this year and beginning to ramp the business in 2014 and beyond.”
Mikhail Chuchkevich, managing director of Bright Capital, another investor, said that it was “delighted to join the Aquion team and to support the company in further developing and globally scaling the business.”
In a 2010 TED talk, Gates highlighted the urgency to cut CO2 emissions and improve energy efficiency through a combined nuclear and renewable system.
Gates has taken a strong stance on environmental issues in the past. He has always been a very strong advocate of nuclear power and has previously said that renewables can certainly be part of the energy mix, but that they might present issues regarding storage and efficiency.
Recently, through his philanthropic foundation, he also spoke out for a big cut in meat consumption, by saying that to cut CO2, our future should be “meatless”.