Moonshot Watch: Keeping Up With Climate Tech's Biggest Bets

We check in on "climate moonshots" — speculative innovations that could be game-changers in the fight against climate change, if only somebody would invent them.

Originally published on Sunday, April 10th, 2022

It’s moonshot watch! 🚀🌕

In recent weeks, researchers and innovators have made progress towards so-called climate moonshots— still-unproven climate technologies that could make an order-of-magnitude difference in mitigating climate change assuming they ever see the light of day.

Many of these solutions didn’t make it into the third and final instalment of the IPCC’s state-of-the-climate report released this week (spoiler: we need to decarbonize yesterday.)

Still, the urgency of the report recalls John Kerry’s infamous (but truthful) warning that “50% of reductions are going to come from technologies that we don’t yet have.”


Here is the latest on three of those technologies...


⚛️  Direct to Air Capture

No climate tech fantasy is as sweet as direct air capture (DAC). Given the continued inaction of world leaders to reduce emissions, and the deep complexity of doing so even where there is sufficient political will, it is impossible not to dream of a solution that effectively hits “ctrl+z” on decades of emissions.

The trouble with DAC is not the feasibility of harvesting carbon dioxide from thin air, it’s what to do once you’ve harvested it. By one method, extracting carbon from its chemical captors is so energy-intensive it almost defeats the purpose. Beyond that, the current market for captured carbon is mainly fossil fuel producers looking to squeeze out more oil.

That’s why in February, the climate VC Breakthrough Energy Ventures announced it was committing $80 million to a technology that has shown it can reduce the energy requirements of DAC by up to 70%.

Verdox’s innovation is a charged plastic film that can pull CO2 from a mix of gas and release it with a change of electrical charge. After iterating on versions that captured too much oxygen, Verdox claims it has a technology that can ultimately bring the cost of carbon down to $50/ton.

That scenario is a ways down the road for a solution that is still in the lab, but it offers a tantalizing and ambitious alternative to a carbon market currently trading as high as $1,200/ton.


🔋  Solid State Strides

Readers of this newsletter are familiar with the shortcomings of lithium-ion batteries: they’re mining-intensive, hard to recycle and vulnerable to bottlenecks all too similar to those currently throttling the global energy market.

Carmaker Nissan announced this week that a new solid-state battery factory will produce a market-scale solution to those problems. While light on technical details, a close reading of the announcement indicates the company will leverage computation materials science to model the properties of new materials in silico (on a computer).

That means researchers could optimize the cost and speed of innovation by crunching vast data sets on supercomputers that produce a short-list of configurations for engineers to try in the lab. The project, which includes researchers from NASA and UC San Diego, promises to produce a solid-state battery for electric vehicles by 2028.


☀️  Solar Solutions

Climate moonshots are not necessarily "deep tech". As the most ubiquitous, recognizable and readily available climate solution across the world, solar energy is practically the opposite of a moonshot in the conventional sense.

But the scale of solar energy called for in every serious net-zero plan is very much a moonshot that poses difficult technological challenges of its own.

Solar is expected to make up as much as 69% of global energy production once fossil fuels are phased out. Even more modest proposals foresee growth in the sector that will require “the equivalent to installing the world’s current largest solar park roughly every day,” through 2050.

The problem is that such an expansion would mean converting the use of extraordinary amounts of land away from traditional uses like agriculture toward a power source that only generates electricity when the sun is shining.

Indeed, the number one factor slowing down American solar farm construction is local protests against the requisite enormous land-use changes, according a report released this week.

A program launching in Colorado this year might yield answers to the land-use issue. Jack’s Solar Garden is the United State’s largest agrivoltaics demonstration project, where farmers produce crops, such as wheat and hay, underneath a canopy of 3,200 solar panels.

The successful farm is one of several such projects funded by the DOE’s InSPIRE project focused on developing productive, pollinator-friendly farm lands paired with solar.

Meanwhile, a team of Stanford researchers announced they have a prototype solar panel that can generate electricity at night. The panels leverage built-in thermoelectric generators that retain some of the heat solar panels typically emit into the night sky. Researchers say there’s plenty of room for improvement, but that these panels could provide stand-by power for rural communities and mini-grid applications in the future.

⚠️ Moral Hazard


Some corners of the climate world have decried the attention given to speculative technologies like carbon capture and geoengineering as morally hazardous distractions from the hard and necessary work of reducing emissions.

Those arguments are not without merit. The same strain of technological utopianism driving the fossil fuel industry to adopt carbon capture also underlies the dubious notion of “climate overshoot” at the heart of many climate policies.

The global priority for climate action needs to be cutting greenhouse gas pollution. Yet, for many, hope springs that if we can invent our way into the climate crisis, perhaps we can invent our way out of it.

🌎 Climate Jobs


Check out some of the latest featured jobs below. If you don't see anything that speaks to you, you can always go to Climatebase to explore thousands of other opportunities.

Accelerate Wind

"Accelerate Wind is an early-stage startup that is working to revolutionize rooftop wind energy in the commercial and industrial spaces by drastically lowering the cost of small wind turbine technologies. This includes development of a patent-pending powertrain concept which drastically reduces the cost of wind turbine power electronics through intermediate energy storage in a small flywheel, and development of a ..."  (full description)

Jobs:

  • Aerospace Post Doc (Remote (Birmingham, AL, USA))

ev.energy

"ev.energy is a technology company on a mission to decarbonize mobility. Recently named “World’s Best Energy Start-up,” we are a team of former management consultants, data scientists and software developers working on an industry-leading algorithm that obtains real-time data from utilities to charge electric vehicles with the cheapest, greenest energy available while supporting the long-term stability and resilience of the ..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Commercial Projects Manager (Remote)

Arcadia

"Arcadia is a nationwide home energy platform providing clean energy and savings. Arcadia Power is remaking the customer utility experience from the ground-up, and personalizing it. They offer customers seamless monthly billing, access to wind energy, community solar programs, and on-bill financing of energy efficient products. Founded in 2014, Arcadia has customers across all 50 states, and is a Certified B Corp ..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Site Reliability Engineer (United States)
  • Senior Product Manager (United States)
  • Director, Global Tax & Compliance (United States)
  • Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist (United States)
  • Security Analyst: Governance, Risk, and Compliance (United States)
  • Senior Director, Product Design (United States)
  • Senior Product Manager, Internal Tools (United States)
  • Data Support Associate, Operations (United States)
  • Member Accounts Associate (United States)
  • Marketing Sales Support Specialist (United States)
  • Program Manager, Sales Channel (Denver, CO, USA)
  • Customer Experience Associate (United States)
  • Director of Strategy (United States)
  • Affiliate Marketing Manager (United States)
  • Principal Analyst, Community Solar Customer Acquisition (United States)
  • Lifecycle Marketing Manager (United States)
  • Head of Data & Analytics, Community Solar (United States)
  • Fullstack Engineer (United States)
  • Data Engineer (United States)
  • Staff Software Engineer (United States)
  • Software Engineer, Backend (United States)
  • Manager, Diversity, Equity, Belonging & Inclusion (DEBI) (United States)
  • Billing & Reconciliation Lead (United States)
  • Operations Coordinator (United States)

CEF

CEF is an invitation-only senior executive network comprised of Fortune and Global 500 companies spanning two dozen industries with combined revenues over $3 trillion. We provide a year-round neutral, pre-competitive space for Chief Sustainability Officers and other influential executives to exchange best practices, collaborate, and incubate new ideas to drive sustainable value creation and innovation ..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Editor-in-Chief, CEF Weekly Briefing (Remote)

Launch Alaska

We’re on a mission to accelerate the resource revolution — to urgently decarbonize our world by getting solutions to energy, transportation, and industry challenges into use. We work to mitigate the causes and effects of climate change while unlocking incredible economic opportunities in the State of Alaska. Startups are the key. They help to drive the rapid, critical shifts in our ..."  (full description)

Jobs:

  • Marketing and Communications Manager (Remote)

Archive Resale

"Archive 's mission is to change consumer behavior for the better. If you think humans buy too much stuff and throw too much away, then this problem is for you. We’re starting with fashion and expanding from there. Archive is building an ‘operating system for resale’ that delivers a customized online secondhand marketplace site and the underlying infrastructure and operations to ..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • VP of Partnerships - Remote (Remote (Los Angeles))
  • Product Manager - Remote (Remote (Los Angeles))
  • Product Designer - Remote (Remote (Los Angeles))
  • People Operations Manager - Remote (Remote (Los Angeles))
  • Legal & Contracts Manager - Remote (Remote (Los Angeles))
  • Integrations Engineer - Remote (Remote (Los Angeles))
  • Head of Marketing - Remote (Remote (Los Angeles))
  • Full Stack Engineer - Remote (Remote (Los Angeles))
  • Front End Engineer - Remote (Remote (Los Angeles))
  • Customer Experience Representative (Remote) (Remote)
  • Customer Experience Representative (Denver) (Denver, Colorado)
  • Brand Success Lead - Remote (Remote (Los Angeles))
  • Back End Engineer - Remote (Remote (Los Angeles))

Emerald Cities Collaborative

A national network of groups working together to advance a sustainable environment while creating economic opportunities for all..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Program Director ARC, Emerald Cities Bay Area (Remote (San Francisco, CA, USA))
  • Economic Inclusion Manager: Construction Project Pipelines (Remote (San Francisco, CA, USA))

Chloris Geospatial

The global economy urgently needs to transition to new models of operation that remove carbon from the atmosphere and preserve and restore natural capital. Chloris Geospatial is an early-stage company developing technology that will transform the way businesses and governments use data about the environment to guide their investment and carbon management decisions. We use satellite data and artificial intelligence to ..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Data Engineer (Boston, MA, USA)

New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC)

The New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC), the country’s first local green bank, is a non-profit specialty financier of projects that save energy and reduce greenhouse gases. NYCEEC’s team is passionate about its mission to deliver financing solutions and advance markets for energy efficiency and clean energy in buildings..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Associate (Finance, Business Development) (1359 Broadway, New York, NY, USA)

Ranger Power

"Ranger Power is a solar energy development company headquartered in Chicago, IL. Ranger develops utility-scale solar and battery storage projects around the United States and manages a five-gigawatt portfolio of assets. The company is comprised of experienced renewable energy professionals and is looking to grow its team..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Development Intern (Chicago, IL, USA)
  • Accounting Associate (Remote (Chicago, IL, USA))
  • Development Coordinator (Chicago, IL, USA)
  • Project Origination Manager (Chicago, IL, USA)
  • Development Manager (Chicago, IL, USA)
  • Assistant Development Manager (Chicago, IL, USA)
  • Business Development Intern (Remote (Chicago, IL, USA))

Inspire Clean Energy

"Inspire is a clean energy technology company on a mission to transform the way people access clean energy and accelerate the world toward a net-zero carbon future. Through a subscription model, Inspire allows customers to access 100% clean energy for one flat monthly price. Customers enjoy a seamless billing experience while supporting a more sustainable future..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Manager, Accounting (Remote)
  • Software Engineer (Remote) (Remote)
  • Sr. Associate Product Manager (Pricing) (Remote)
  • Sr. Analyst, Growth & Analytics (Remote)
  • Sr. Pricing Analyst (Remote)
  • Sr. Manager, Revenue & Receivables (Remote)
  • Sr. Program Manager, New Markets (PMO) (Remote)
  • Sr. Analyst, Structured Origination (Remote)
  • Manager, Digital Marketing Partnerships (Remote)
  • Manager, Digital Marketing (Remote)
  • Director, Brand Marketing (Remote)
  • Sr. IT Specialist (Hybrid) (Santa Monica, CA)
  • Sr. Manager, Acquisition Strategy (Remote)
  • Sr. Analyst, Power Trading (Remote)
  • Sr. UX Designer (Remote)
  • Product Designer (Remote)
  • Associate, Acquisition Strategy (Remote)
  • Sr. Data Engineer (Remote) (Remote)
  • Data Engineer (Remote) (Remote)
  • Sr. Software Engineer (Remote) (Remote)
  • Digital Analytics Manager (Remote)

Soil Carbon Co.

At Soil Carbon Co, we have the earth in our hands. Our team of scientists and entrepreneurs is united in a mission to realise the potential of microbes to address climate change. We are dedicated to developing solutions that boost agricultural productivity and benefit the environment. We are developing soil carbon sequestration technology that uses the power of microbes to remove..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Head of People and Culture (Remote (Orange NSW 2800, Australia))

Regrow Ag

Transforming agriculture systems is the single most important thing we can do to combat climate change. Our Mission & Vision Our mission is to make resilient agriculture ubiquitous. On every acre. Globally. Our vision is for agriculture to be driven by science and technology to restore the environmental balance globally to nourish the population and be equitable for everyone. Environment. People. Equity. In that ..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Business Development Manager (Remote)
  • Account Executive - Agrifood / CPG (Remote)
  • Director of Environmental Modeling (Remote)
  • Technical Recruiter (Remote)
  • Software Engineer - US (Remote)
  • Software Engineer - UA (Remote)
  • Sr. Recruiter (Remote)
  • Sr DevOps Engineer - US (Remote)
  • Sr DevOps Engineer - UA (Remote)
  • Senior Soil Carbon Scientist (Remote)
  • Senior Python Developer - US (Remote)
  • Senior Python Developer - UA (Remote)
  • Remote Sensing Scientist (Rangeland Applications) (Remote)
  • Product Manager (Remote)
  • Product Designer (UX/UI) (Remote)
  • Head of Customer Success (Remote)
  • Global Data Science Team Lead (Remote)
  • General Interest (Remote)
  • Enterprise Account Manager (Remote)
  • Head of Enterprise Sales (CPG) (Remote)
  • Head of Talent (Remote)
  • Remote Sensing Scientist (Agricultural Applications) (Remote)

Watershed

"Watershed is a software platform for running a world-class climate program. Start reducing your carbon footprint in weeks, not years. Our mission is to accelerate decarbonization by building the tools organizations need to cut carbon..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Business recruiter, London (London)
  • UX writer (contract) (Remote)
  • Engineering manager (San Francisco, California, United States)
  • Business recruiter (Remote)
  • Head of demand generation (San Francisco)
  • Sales, Europe (Europe)
  • Sourcer (Remote)
  • Software engineer, data (Remote)
  • Sales (Remote)
  • Recruiting coordinator (San Francisco)
  • Technical recruiter (Remote)
  • Product manager (San Francisco, California, United States)
  • Product engineer (Remote)
  • Product designer (Remote)
  • Full-stack engineer (Remote)
  • Climate strategy manager, London (London)
  • Climate strategy manager (Remote)
  • Marketplace partner manager (Remote)
  • Carbon data analyst (Remote)
  • Executive assistant (San Francisco)
  • Sales development representative, Europe (Remote)
  • Data scientist (Remote)
  • Sales development representative (Remote)
  • Brand writer (Remote)


The Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a joint initiative between CDP, UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife Fund, aiming to catalyze change towards a net-zero economy by driving the adoption of GHG emission reduction targets in the corporate sector that are consistent with the ambition required to keep temperature increase 1.5°C. Over 1,045 of the ..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Executive Assistant (Remote (Brazil))
  • Senior Finance Manger, Science Based Targets Initiative (Remote (Germany))
  • Research Fellow – General (Remote (United States))
  • Research Fellow – Power Sector Transformation (Remote (United States))

VertueLab

VertueLab is a nonprofit fighting the climate crisis by providing funding and holistic entrepreneurial support to cleantech startups. Through a decade of work, we have proven that our model can accelerate climate solutions that are key to reversing the climate crisis. We were the first in the nation to utilize patient, risk-tolerant, concessionary, and flexible capital to invest in early ..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Institutional Giving Manager (WA preferred, PNW required) (Remote (Washington, USA))

Cove Tool, Inc.

"Cove.Tool is a web based platform for analyzing, drawing, engineering, and connecting data for building design and construction ..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Customer Success Manager (Atlanta, Georgia, United States)
  • Sales Executive (Atlanta, Georgia, United States)
  • Marketing Designer (Mid to Senior) (Atlanta, Georgia, United States)
  • QA Automation Engineer (Atlanta, Georgia, United States)
  • Revenue Operations Manager (Atlanta, Georgia, United States)
  • Software Engineer Intern (Atlanta, Georgia, United States)
  • Managing Editor (Atlanta, Georgia, United States)
  • Join the cove.tool Talent Pool (Atlanta, Georgia, United States)
  • Architectural Strategy Manager (Atlanta, Georgia, United States)

RMI

RMI is an independent nonprofit founded in 1982 that transforms global energy systems through market-driven solutions to align with a 1.5°C future and secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. We work in the world’s most critical geographies and engage businesses, policymakers, communities, and NGOs to identify and scale energy system interventions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions at ..." (full description)

Jobs:

  • Manager Carbon Markets and Offsets (Boulder, CO)
  • MiQ Policy Director (Boulder, CO)
  • MiQ Data Scientist (Boulder, CO)
  • MiQ Life Cycle Assessment Analyst (Boulder, CO)
  • Director of Knowledge Management (Boulder, CO)
  • ​Director of Philanthropy – New Initiatives and Partnerships (Boulder, CO)
  • Principal/Senior Principal - Refining and Chemicals (Boulder, CO)
  • Electricity Sector Lead - Third Derivative (Boulder, CO)
  • Senior Associate – Steel and Hydrogen - Climate Aligned Industries (Boulder, CO)
  • Senior Associate - Green Hydrogen Catapult, Climate Aligned Industries (Boulder, CO)
  • Manager – Green Hydrogen Catapult - Climate-Aligned Industries (Boulder, CO)
  • Manager - Steel and Hydrogen- Climate Aligned Industries (Boulder, CO)
  • Senior Associate- Executive Research Projects (Boulder, CO)
  • Associate/Senior Associate - Cement and Concrete Sector Initiative (Boulder, CO)
  • Special Projects Manager- Strategic Analysis and Engagement (Boulder, CO)
  • 请填写:工业脱碳项目总监 Industry Decarbonization Manager (Beijing, BJ China)
  • 请填写:氢能项目总监 Hydrogen Manager (Beijing, BJ China)
  • Design Manager (Boulder, CO)
  • Senior Designer (Boulder, CO)
  • Subject Matter Expert - Sustainable Aviation Fuels (Boulder, CO)
  • Senior Associate- Energy Modeling and Analytics, Carbon-Free Buildings (Boulder, CO)
  • Senior Associate – Building Decarbonization, Massachusetts (Remote)
  • Manager (Waste Sector Methane Abatement) Climate Intelligence Program (Boulder, CO)
  • Program Operations Lead - Carbon-Free Buildings (California-based) (Oakland, CA)
  • Development Officer- Individual Major Gifts (Oakland, CA)
  • Program Assistant - Urban Transformation (Washington, DC)
  • Associate – Aviation Digitization – Climate Intelligence (Boulder, CO)
  • Associate – Aviation Accounting – Climate Intelligence (Boulder, CO)
  • Research and Data Analyst (Boulder, CO)
  • Research and Data Manager (Boulder, CO)
  • Communications Lead- Corporate Engagement (Boulder, CO)
  • Manager - Network Relationships - Urban Transformation (Boulder, CO)
  • Managing Director - Operational Strategy (Boulder, CO)
  • Social Media Community Engagement Lead (New York, NY)
  • Conference and Events Manager (Boulder, CO)
  • Senior Program Director - Southeast Asia (Boulder, CO)
  • Manager - Southeast Asia Program (Remote)
  • Maintenance Technician (Basalt, CO)
  • Summer 2022 Internship - Utility Transition Hub (Boulder, CO)
  • Senior Associate - REALIZE - California (Must be based in California, CA)
  • Technical Product Manager – Climate Intelligence (Boulder, CO)
  • Associate - Client Operations (Black Bear Energy) (Boulder, CO)
  • Project Management Lead (Boulder, CO)
  • Operations Specialist (Boulder, CO)
  • Associate (Boulder, CO)
  • Grant Analyst (Boulder, CO)
  • Operations Lead, Marketing (Boulder, CO)
  • Operations Lead, Public Relations (Boulder, CO)
  • Managing Director - Third Derivative (Boulder, CO)
  • Senior Manager- Development- US Government Funding (Boulder, CO)
  • Media Relations Lead (Boulder, CO)
  • Manager- Technical Grant and Proposal Development (Boulder, CO)
  • Development Officer- Multilateral/ Bilateral (Boulder, CO)
  • Assistant- Gift Processing and Data Quality (Boulder, CO)

That's it for this week! Remember, you can always view thousands of more jobs on Climatebase.org.


Final reminders...

👋 Get discovered. Complete your profile to be seen by hundreds of employers hiring on Climatebase.

🚀 Accelerate your climate career. Apply to join the Climatebase Fellowship.

🌱 Hiring? Post your jobs to reach tens-of-thousands of Climatebase users and over 30,000 weekly newsletter subscribers.

👋 New here? Subscribe!

❤️️ Share a link to this week's edition

🐦 Let's connect! Follow us on Twitter @Climatebase, and our co-founders @evandhynes and @jhardin925