ImpactAlpha, May 3 – Demand for lithium, the lightweight metal at the core of today’s electric vehicle batteries, could outstrip existing supply by mid-decade.
Energy Exploration Technologies, or EnergyX, has developed a direct lithium extraction process that uses a membrane to draw out the precious element from brine water. The process “produces orders of magnitude more lithium at a fraction of the cost,” EnergyX’s Teague Egan told ImpactAlpha. It also uses 90% less water while requiring just 1% of the footprint of typical lithium mining operations, which rely on vast salt ponds.
The company is piloting its “technology as a service” with major lithium producers including Australia’s Orocobre Limited, which recently announced a $4 billion merger with Galaxy Resources to create the fifth largest lithium miner.
“There is a massive supply-demand imbalance,” said Egan. “We want to help close that delta.”
Crowding into lithium
Puerto Rico-based EnergyX raised $18 million in Series A funding from investors including Obsidian Acquisition Partners, Helios Capital, and the University of Texas, and an additional $1.5 million via a crowdfunding offering on Netcapital.