Jeff Bezos invests $100m in project to use seaweed in place of fossil fuel 

Seaweed Garden, Isle of Coll, Inner Hebrides

Credit: Alex Mustard/PA

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is investing $100m (£76m) into technology that could help develop new markets for seaweed as an alternative to fossil fuels .

The investment, awarded to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is one of 16 grants that the world’s richest man is giving as part of his his $10bn pledge to combat climate change

Bezos has earmarked $791m for donations in his Earth Fund to environmental organisations who are working "on innovative, ambitious, and needle-moving solutions".

"I’ve spent the past several months learning from a group of incredibly smart people who’ve made it their life’s work to fight climate change and its impact on communities around the world," he wrote on Instagram. "I’m inspired by what they’re doing, and excited to help them scale."

The grant to the WWF will help develop and protect seaweed farms, which could be a potential source of future bioenergy.

According to the US Department of Energy (DoE), an area that takes up just 0.5pc of the US could grow enough algae as a biofuel to replace all petroleum-based fuel in the US,.

It will also protect and restore mangroves, which store carbon and protect coastal communities from the ravages of climate-accelerated weather events.

Initial grantees are mostly US-based environmental charities and nonprofits, such as Eden Reforestation Projects, which helps developing countries rebuild natural landscapes destroyed by deforestation.

The Environmental Defense Fund, which will receive $100m from the fund, said the grant will help it complete and launch its MethaneSAT satellite which is designed to locate and measure sources of methane pollution around the world and provide public access to that data to ensures accountability.

Another recipient, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) received a two-year grant of $15m.

"This grant will be used to advocate for updates to the U.S. electrical grid that will dramatically speed the amount of wind, solar, and energy storage used in key states," said the group in a statement published to its website. 

"The grant will also support UCS efforts to accelerate the electrification of commercial trucking, a major source of dangerous air pollution to communities along high-traffic corridors nationwide."

"This $791m in donations is just the beginning of my $10 billion commitment to fund scientists, activists, NGOs, and others," Bezos said.

Thanks to a boom in Amazon’s pandemic-related profits, Mr Bezos’ net worth has climbed by $70bn this year alone. He is now thought to be worth around $187bn. 

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