Direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology company Energy Exploration Technologies Inc. (EnergyX) has secured commitments of $20 million in financing. The company said that the funding makes it the highest-valued direct lithium extraction technology company on the market.
In 2020, EnergyX announced a pilot partnership with Orocobre Limited (earlier post) to deliver high-quality and comprehensive solutions that will lead to a cleaner, more efficient lithium extraction. On 19 April, Orocobre announced a $4-billion merger with Galaxy Resources to create a lithium major. (Earlier post.) EnergyX and Orocobre plan to deploy their pilots in the near future.
Rising global demand for electric vehicles and economic energy storage systems has led to projections showing an orders-of-magnitude increase in demand for lithium. In 2020 global supply was roughly 315k tons; this is expected to rise to 5.5M tons by 2040. EnergyX has identified how to improve lithium extraction methods while lessening the environmental mining impact.
Lithium Ion Transport and Separation (LiTAS) is EnergyX’s proprietary technology that stems from metal organic frameworks (MOFs) nanoparticles capable of selectively separating monovalent ions, such as lithium, from the rest of the ions in mixtures of high salinity solutions while maintaining stability in a myriad of conditions.
Stringing many LiTAS modules together into racks, and multiple racks into a larger system creates the overall facility to extract lithium from lithium-enriched brine.
EnergyX is also exploring the use of its LiTAS technology as a component of solid-state batteries. Preliminary research has shown that lithium ions transport through the metal organic framework nanoparticles at “unprecedented” rates. These results translate to very high levels of conductivity and possible application as a solid-state separator inside the battery.
EnergyX, along with its new partners and strategic investors including Obsidian Acquisition Partners, Helios Capital, and the University of Texas, hope to build a strong platform that binds together industry, academia, and natural resource management.
We are pleased to invest in EnergyX at this critical time. Some in the electric vehicle (EV) industry have likened lithium mining to the early days of oil exploration. EnergyX has developed a technology for lithium extraction whose potential economic impact on the industry, is similar to ‘fracking’ in terms of efficiency and cost saving, yet limiting environmental impact and global carbon footprint.—Kris Haber, Director of Obsidian