19 October, 2021
Associate Investigator, Associate Professor Franck Natali, from the Victoria University of Wellington and Wellington UniVentures’ Innovator-in-Residence has been accepted on to the inaugural Breakthrough Energy Fellows Program to develop his work into revolutionising the way ammonia is produced.
Breakthrough Energy Fellows is the latest program announced by Breakthrough Energy, an organisation founded by Bill Gates, that is dedicated to supporting the development and adoption of new clean technologies that can help the world achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The programme will provide innovators from across the globe with funding, mentorship, education, and access to the Breakthrough Energy network. Through this, the program aims to fill a critical gap in the innovation ecosystem by providing essential resources to traditionally under-resourced innovators in the nascent stages of commercialising clean technologies.
The 2021 cohort consists of innovators working in steel, cement, hydrogen, fertilizer, and electrofuels. Associate Professor Natali and his work with Liquium to decarbonise ammonia was selected through an international competitive application process and demonstrated how the technology has the ability to reduce 500 million tons of carbon dioxide per year at scale. Associate Professor Natali's project was initially led by the MacDiarmid Institute.
Wellington UniVentures put Associate Professor Natali forward for the Breakthrough Energy Fellows, understanding how his research could have real global impact, enabling the green export of hydrogen and a new clean ammonia liquid fuel for heavy industry. He is the only New Zealander on the cohort this year.
Associate Professor Natali says: “It’s fantastic to see that our research is being recognised by big players. We cannot reach climate goals without breakthroughs in this sector and this programme not only provides early investment but also the support needed to accelerate and scale the technology. We have a solution that works and I’m incredibly excited to be on this journey to help reach net zero emissions by 2050.".