Amazon backs new tech startups focused on sustainability technologies as part of its Climate Pledge Fund
When Jeff Bezos stepped down as Amazon’s CEO back in July, he promised to spend the rest of his time on passion projects like his space company Blue Origin, Washington Post, and philanthropic efforts. In an email to Amazon employees, whom he also called Amazonians, Bezos said, “As Exec Chair I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions.”
Then in September, Bezos kept his promise by pledging $1 billion to conservation efforts as part of the Bezos Earth Fund to help combat climate change. The pledge was part of the Bezos Earth Fund, a $10 billion fund he launched in February 2020 designed to invest in scientists, activists, and other organizations to combat the effects of climate change and help preserve and protect the world.
Since then, Bezos has also been backing and supporting promising and innovative startup companies that are focused on developing sustainability technologies to fight climate change and reduce global emissions. As you may recall back in October, Amazon invested in climate-energy tech startup Resilient Power to develop fast-charging technology for electric vehicles. Now, Amazon is doubling down its investments in two new green tech startup companies.
Today, Jeff Bezos’ Climate Pledge Fund announced its investment in two new green tech startups, including Amogy, a New York-based company that’s developing an ammonia-to-power system that is emission-free at the point of use and may eventually be used to power heavy-duty transportation, such as cargo shipping.
Amazon’s investment will help support Amogy’s work toward developing the company’s commercial application for ammonia-powered shipping. The company’s technology has the potential to become one of the first commercially scalable ammonia-to-power systems. Amogy’s technology also has possible future implications for Amazon’s own decarbonization goals, including the company’s goal to reach net-zero carbon by 2040.
The second startup is Hippo Harvest, a Half Moon Bay, California-based agricultural company using plant science, machine learning, and robotics to grow leafy greens and other produce in greenhouse environments. Known as controlled environment agriculture, Hippo Harvest’s technology addresses the emissions and waste that result from traditional produce farming—including fertilizer and land use, transportation, and landfill methane from wasted produce—which account for roughly 30% of the emissions from crops grown as human food.
“Lettuce that requires up to 95% less water to grow and an ammonia-to-power processing system that may eventually power a cargo ship, yet is emission-free at the point of use are two of the newest technologies Amazon is investing in as part of The Climate Pledge Fund. The Climate Pledge Fund is a $2 billion fund supporting companies pioneering products and services that will help facilitate the planet’s transition to a low-carbon economy.”
In a statement, Amazon said The Climate Pledge Fund’s investment in Hippo Harvest is expected to help the company scale its current greenhouse operations, with the goal of eventually beginning commercial sales of their vegetable crops. As a grocery retailer, Amazon is committed to supporting new produce solutions like Hippo Harvest’s, as it grows its Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market stores.
“The world’s food-supply demands are accelerating rapidly, and it’s critical that we develop more-sustainable, innovative ways to grow food crops like fresh produce,” said Hippo Harvest CEO Eitan Marder-Eppstein. “Our technology is pioneering growing methods that use less water and resources, and allow fresh produce to be grown closer to the consumer while cutting down on carbon-intensive transportation and food waste. We’re excited to be collaborating with Amazon on this journey.”
Meanwhile, Amogy and Hippo Harvest are just two of the many sustainable startups Amazon has invested in. Amazon also backed CarbonCure, Pachama, Redwood Materials, Rivian, Turntide Technologies, BETA Technologies, ION Energy, ZeroAvia, Infinium, Resilient Power, and CMC Machinery. “These companies will be able to use the investment funds from Amazon to continue developing and scaling their products and services,” Amazon said.
“Lowering the carbon footprint of major business sectors, like agriculture and ocean shipping, are critical to tackling climate change,” said Kara Hurst, vice president and head of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon. “Hippo Harvest’s greenhouse farming technology and Amogy’s ammonia-to-power system provide important tools to help Amazon achieve our goal set by The Climate Pledge to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.”
“Heavy-duty transportation is the backbone of the global industry, and one of the planet’s imminent challenges when it comes to reaching net-zero carbon. Amazon’s investment will help Amogy continue developing our clean ammonia-to-power technology, which we expect will be one of the most viable solutions for shipping in the coming years,” said Amogy CEO Seonghoon Woo.