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12/14/2021

Amazon invests in two sustainable technology companies

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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The Amazon Climate Pledge Fund is continuing to invest in sustainable technology.

The Amazon Climate Pledge Fund is backing a greenhouse agriculture provider and an emissions-free power system.

Initially announced in June 2020, the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, is designed to enable Amazon and other companies to meet The Climate Pledge, a commitment to be net-zero carbon by 2040. Amazon is providing initial funding of $2 billion to back visionary companies whose products and services will facilitate the transition to a zero-carbon economy. 

Amazon announced its first five Climate Pledge Fund investments in September 2020. Now, the e-tail giant is funding two more sustainable technology companies – Hippo Harvest and Amogy. More information on each company follows.

Hippo Harvest
Hippo Harvest, located in Half Moon Bay, Calif., is an 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 pilot greenhouse uses a closed loop and direct-to-root fertilizer and water system, growing produce that requires up to 95% less water than traditional farming while filtering out runoff that could pollute local drinking water.

Small robots are used as tractors to care for leafy green crops like lettuce and manage tasks including watering, data collection, plant transportation, and cleaning. The greenhouse system can be located almost anywhere, which allows the produce to be grown closer to the consumer, cuts down on the emissions from produce transportation, and can increase the shelf life of the fresh produce by up to five days. Additionally, Hippo Harvest’s system applies machine learning to experiment with the most efficient levels of fertilizer, water, light, and other variables.

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 its vegetable crops, potentially including Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market grocery 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.”

Amogy
Amazon is also investing in Amogy, a New York-based technology startup that’s developing an ammonia-to-power system that is emission-free at the point of use, and may eventually be used for heavy-duty transportation, such as cargo shipping.

The Climate Pledge Fund’s investment will help Amogy develop its commercial application for its technology, which also has future implications for Amazon’s own decarbonization goals, including those set by Amazon when it launched The Climate Pledge, through which the company aims to reach net-zero carbon by 2040. Amazon also recently helped found the Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels, a coalition in the maritime space whose members, including Amazon, are pledging to transition to zero-carbon marine fuels 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.

“Lowering the carbon footprint of major business sectors, like agriculture and ocean shipping, are critical to tackling climate change,” said Kara Hurst, VP 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.”