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Amazon taps $2B climate fund to invest in three more startups

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Amazon has dipped back into its $2 billion climate fund and invested in several startups, including one that is developing fast-charging technology for electric vehicles as part of the e-commerce giant's broader effort to have net-zero carbon operations by 2040.

The company said Wednesday it has invested in CMC Machinery and Resilient Power. The company put additional capital into Infinium, a renewable fuels technology company it previously backed. Amazon didn't disclose exact funding amounts, although separate announcements from the startups provide a bit of insight into the scale of the funding.

Amazon's Climate Pledge Fund has now invested in 11 companies to date, including previous investments in CarbonCure, Pachama, Redwood Materials, Rivian, TurnTide Technologies, BETA Technologies, Ion Energy, ZeroAvia and Infinium.

Resilent Power, an Austin, Texas-based company, announced Wednesday it has closed a $5 million seed round, which Amazon participated in but did not lead. The seed round was led by Energy Transition Ventures, with investment from Amazon's Climate Pledge Fund and GS Futures, the corporate venture capital arm of GS Group from Korea.

The startup has developed a solid-state transformer that enables multi-megawatt medium voltage fast charging at one-tenth the installation time. It's also able to handle solar generation, energy storage, vehicle-to-grid and microgrid tasks. Resilient says its system is capable of charging up to 24 vehicles at a time. It can also connect direct current or alternating current sources to a medium voltage line on the grid, which is a handy feature that helps avoid costly upgrades to the distribution grid.

This is the kind of system ideal for charging fleets of vehicles, which is where Amazon comes in. Amazon said its investment into Resilient will help the e-commerce company reach its broader decarbonization goals around transportation, including the ongoing incorporation of EVs into its delivery fleet, including deploying 100,000 custom EVs by 2030. Rivian, another Amazon-backed company, is producing the 100,000 electric vans for the company.

Other investments announced Wednesday include the Italian-based CMC Machinery, a company that designs and manufactures custom-sized boxes tailored to the dimensions of the items in each order. This "right-sizing" helps reduce or even eliminate the need for single-use plastic padding while still protecting the items during shipping, according to the company.

Amazon said it expects that by the end of 2022, CMC Machinery's technology could reduce the cubic volume for each box by 24% on average. The technology is projected to reduce the use of approximately 1 billion plastic air pillows by the end of 2022, Amazon said.

Amazon also put more money into Sacramento-based Infinium, which has developed a technology that converts renewable power into "green" hydrogen, then uses the green hydrogen and waste carbon dioxide to produce ultra-low carbon fuels. Infinium said Wednesday it closed a $69 million round that was co-led by Amazon's Climate Pledge Fund and a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC. The round also included investment from AP Ventures LLP, 8090 Partners, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Pavilion Capital.

Infinium said the capital will be used to complete the development of large-scale facilities that can each generate nearly 40 million gallons of electrofuels annually for the commercial transportation sector. The fuels Infinium plans to produce are a replacement for traditional jet fuel and diesel, and can be used in planes, ships and truck fleets without changes in infrastructure or engine design, according to the company.

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