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Endolith secures $1.1M DOE grant to accelerate microbially-based lithium extraction

Endolith, a subsidiary of Cemvita, secured a $1.1-million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to harness microbes for sustainable mining. This funding will be directed towards the optimization and expansion of sustainable lithium extraction with an eye towards field deployment alongside industry partner Arizona Lithium, and supporting companies, Lithium Americas and Ioneer.

Endolith designs and produces microbially-based lixiviants to extract metals and minerals from all types of resources, including low-grade deposits and waste. This grant will help advance commercialization of Endolith’s bioprocess both domestically and internationally.

Lithium, a critical component in the development of renewable energy solutions, has seen an exponential demand increase in recent years. However, only a small fraction of lithium is sourced domestically, making this critical metal a high priority for national interest.

In year one, the focus will be on optimization, targeting minimal feedstock input, maximal lithium leaching, and minimal leaching of gangue, or unwanted, materials.

Year two will focus on construction and validation of a pilot scale bioprocess operation reactor in collaboration with one of Endolith’s industry partners. The end-goal is to operate this reactor serially, processing multiple one-ton charges of lithium-bearing clay, and showcasing economic recovery of lithium.

Endolith is focused on sustainable mining practices to deliver the critical minerals essential for a cleaner energy future. Current product lines deliver enhanced recovery of copper, nickel, and lithium. Endolith says that it can continuously optimize the microbial mix to take advantage of new technology or changing minerology through the life of a mine.

Cemvita is a biotechnology company that creates sustainable solutions across multiple industries through synthetic biology.


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