GM leads $50 Mn funding round in EnergyX to unlock Lithium supply in US
Energy Exploration Technologies Inc. (EnergyX) and General Motors (GM) have announced that GM Ventures has led a $50 million Series B financing round in EnergyX, along with a strategic agreement to develop EnergyX's lithium extraction and refinery technology.
GM claims that the collaboration is focused on unlocking the North American supply of lithium, a critical material for EV batteries, by using EnergyX's innovative process to maximize efficiency while improving sustainability for the automotive group's rapidly scaling EV production in the region.
"The EnergyX team of scientists and engineers have worked relentlessly for five years developing cutting-edge DLE technology to solve the immense bottlenecks that have limited global lithium production and supply chain," said Teague Egan, CEO, EnergyX.
"This single bottleneck (a massive lithium shortage) is the biggest challenge to scaling EV production. We will unlock lithium supply in the U.S., a pivotal move in expanding the EV industry. There are many ways of gauging success, but few are more rewarding than the support of leaders like GM. We're energized by GM's investment and will keep a 'Day 1' attitude as we pursue our goal of making EnergyX the biggest lithium company in the world", Egan added.
EnergyX's direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology portfolio can make lithium metal directly from brine and potentially in anode-ready form for EV batteries, which can enable more cost-effective and sustainable lithium recovery to unlock a vast lithium supply chain in North America that may otherwise be unviable, GM says.
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"We are committed to securing EV critical minerals that are sustainable and cost competitive to maintain our leadership position among automakers," said Jeff Morrison, GM vice president of Global Purchasing and Supply Chain.
He further added, "The investment in EnergyX is a further proof point of GM's leadership position. EnergyX is developing a novel direct lithium extraction process that's not only cost competitive but also will reduce energy, land and water usage as compared to the current extraction and processing process for brine-based lithium. We are excited to be partnered with EnergyX on their efforts."
In 2022, EnergyX became the first firm to design, build and commission an in-field pilot plant in the Lithium Triangle, which encompasses over 65 percent of the known global lithium reserves. The company's 'LiTAS' technology increases lithium recovery rates to over 90 percent from the current industry standard of 30-40 percent using ponds and hit 94 percent during their field trials, it claims.
After a successful five-month pilot program proving the efficacy of the LiTAS lithium refinery process, EnergyX will scale those systems to more robust market demonstration plants located at five regional test beds in North and South America, followed by full-scale commercialization.
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The latest round of financing by GM and other investors is expected to help solidify EnergyX as one of the world leaders in DLE technology. It will also enable the company to broaden its research and development efforts for pure lithium metal anodes and its solid-state lithium metal battery program 'SoLiS'.
EnergyX is currently building a 40,000-square-foot innovation and manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, to house its growing operation.