The oil-rich nation of Qatar is teaming up with the UK government-backed Carbon Trust to pour cash into cleantech companies. The two countries plan to launch a £250 million ($396.2 million) fund for clean energy business, focusing on startups in the UK. The deal also calls for the possible creation of a joint research center in Qatar that could help the emirate jump on the growing cleantech industry in the Gulf region.
The Qatar-UK partnership will begin investing with up to £150 million ($237.8 million) coming from Qatar and the remaining £100 million from the Carbon Trust and the private sector. The Carbon Trust told Earth2Tech that it has not yet disclosed the amount of its contribution. The funding will be used to invest “in companies developing a wide range of low carbon technologies,” UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said in a press conference in Qatar. “And it is right that we cooperate on how we can make the energy resources of our countries do better for us in the future.”
The cash from the new fund could end up getting spread around into other parts of Europe, and the Carbon Trust said the fund will consider investing in the Gulf region once an investment capability is established in Qatar.
Nearby Abu Dhabi has already caught the cleantech bug, with its Masdar Initiative recently moving in on the UK wind market. It has also invested in solar, putting cash into California-based Solyndra’s $600 million round earlier this month.
Abu Dhabi also created its own $250 million cleantech private equity fund in 2006 in partnership with Credit Suisse and Consensus Business Group. And Abu Dhabi’s got its sights set even higher, with plans for an entire green city, called Masdar City, aiming for it to be the world’s first zero carbon, zero waste, car free city.