Bill Gates and Prime Minister launch new UK cleantech coalition at Imperial

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President Hugh Brady, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Professor Mary Ryan and Bill Gates

Imperial hosted Bill Gates and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for the launch of a new initiative to supercharge UK cleantech innovation.

Cleantech for UK, which brings together a coalition of investors and venture-builders with combined funds of over £4 billion, will accelerate the translation of the UK’s scientific research into world-leading cleantech scale-ups. 

Imperial College London’s cleantech initiative, Undaunted, is a founding member of Cleantech for UK, which will connect the UK’s policy-making community with those creating, incubating, investing in and scaling cleantech companies. 

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak joined Bill Gates – founder of Breakthrough Energy – at Imperial College London on Wednesday 15 February to launch Cleantech for UK, alongside Imperial’s President Hugh Brady and Vice Provost (Research and Enterprise) Professor Mary Ryan. 

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak MP said: “Investing in renewables and clean tech is one of the best ways to strengthen our energy security, create better-paid jobs and grow the economy. 

“With the launch of Cleantech for UK, a new generation of talented British businesses can be confident that they have the backing they need to unlock green solutions to some of the biggest challenges we face. 

“This shines a light on the strength of UK innovation – and our ability to find new ways of doing things to drive economic, social and environmental progress.”    

A group of people in front of a sign about clean energy innovation

Bill Gates said: “The UK has all the ingredients to become a major player in the global push to build a net-zero emissions future, including world-class research facilities and forward-looking investors. It’s great to see cleantech businesses, innovators, and policy makers coming together to advance UK climate leadership.” 

Professor Hugh Brady, President of Imperial College London, said: “Achieving net-zero will require an enormous step-change in our economy, industry and civic systems. Imperial College London, one of the world’s leading universities, has the talent, resources, and influence to help accelerate the world towards this goal. We are fuelling a new generation of dynamic, cleantech businesses and helping them to scale and thrive. We are pleased to welcome Bill Gates and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to Imperial College London to launch Cleantech for UK, and look forward to working with our partners to unleash this kind of innovation across the UK.”  

Professor Mary Ryan, Vice Provost (Research and Enterprise) said: “We know that we are in the centre of triple planetary crises - climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. Developing and deploying new technologies to build a more sustainable, resilient and equitable future is urgent. This initiative will bring together key partners to provide the systems-thinking, solutions-focus and resources to unlock the potential of the UK's innovators. Imperial is ideally placed to drive this revolution." 

This follows the launch of Undaunted – a collaboration between Imperial College London and The Royal Institution (Ri), led by Imperial’s Grantham Institute - Climate Change and the Environment, which aims to catalyse innovation across business, industry and policy and help to deliver a zero carbon and climate resilient future. 

Alyssa Gilbert, Director of Undaunted and Director of Innovation at the Grantham Institute, said: “Cleantech for UK embodies what Undaunted is all about: bringing people and perspectives together to tackle climate change. It’s key that we consider the whole ecosystem of the UK cleantech sector – from weaving enterprise into higher education, SME support and investment, to policymaking and communication. There are fantastic climate innovation ideas out there, that will help us confront the climate crisis, and we must work together to ensure they can flourish.” 

Showcasing innovation 

The Cleantech for UK launch event included a showcase of three leading UK cleantech scale-ups. 

Two men and a woman talking

Econic, an Imperial College London startup, are developing catalyst technologies that enable the use of captured CO2 to make low-cost, sustainable plastics. The company was founded by Professor Charlotte Williams and Dr Michael Kember from Imperial College London and participated in Imperial’s Climate accelerator in 2012. 

H2GO Power, based at Imperial College London’s innovation campus in White City, are developing disruptive smart technologies to change hydrogen is stored and managed. The company was co-fouded by Dr Enass Abo-Hamed, former Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellow at Imperial, and was supported by Imperial’s Climate-KIC accelerator programme in 2017. 

A woman talking to two men

Crop Intellect are developing innovative solutions to major agricultural challenges. Their flagship technology, R-Leaf, aims to turn air pollution into plant food at the field scale, improving crop yield whilst reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The company are working with Dr Andreas Kafizas from Imperial’s Department of Chemistry. 

Cleantech coalition 

Founding members of the coalition are: Imperial College London's cleantech initiative Undaunted (home to The Greenhouse accelerator), Clean Growth Fund (cleantech venture capital investor), Kiko Ventures (cleantech venture capital investor), Breakthrough Energy Ventures (cleantech venture capital investor), Just Climate (climate-led investor), Legal & General Capital (alternative asset platform). The work of the coalition will be facilitated by Cleantech for UK.

Cleantech for UK is powered by Cleantech Group and supported by Breakthrough Energy, an organisation founded by Bill Gates to accelerate the clean energy transition, with initiatives that fund, develop, commercialize, and scale the technologies needed to build a net-zero economy. 

Image credits: Number 10


Deborah Evanson

Deborah Evanson
Communications Division

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Joanna Wilson

Joanna Wilson
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Enterprise, Comms-strategy-Wider-society, Comms-strategy-Entrepreneurial-ecosystem, Environment, Comms-strategy-Real-world-benefits, Entrepreneurship, Climate-change
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