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SiTration secures $2.5 million in pre-seed funding for EV batteries recycling

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SiTration, the MIT spinoff pioneering new separation processes for materials extraction, has announced it has raised $2.35 million in pre-seed funding led by Azolla Ventures with participation from the MIT-affiliated E14 Fund.

The funding will enable SiTration to accelerate hiring and ramp up the development of its breakthrough technology for the recovery of critical materials in the lithium-ion battery recycling process.

SiTration has pioneered a new filtration membrane technology that can potentially eliminate the need for energy- and resource-intensive chemical and thermal separation methods used for the extraction of materials such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel from recycled electric vehicle batteries. Built upon years of R&D at MIT, SiTration's patented conductive membrane technology can reduce the energy needed for materials extraction by as much as 10 times while enabling a recovery yield of over 95 percent.

"By replacing the chemical and thermal separation methods used in battery recycling today with an electrified approach, SiTration is unlocking ultra-efficient recovery of materials foundational to a more sustainable future," said Brendan Smith, co-founder, and CEO of SiTration, who invented the technology during his Ph.D. research at MIT and launched SiTration as an Activate Fellow.

"Our vision is to minimize impact and maximize circularity in the life cycle of critical materials such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel. Our team could not be more excited to partner with Azolla Ventures and E14 Fund to realize this mission."

With broad applicability across several different global industries, SiTration's technology can address one of the most urgent challenges in decarbonizing transportation: the critical materials supply shortage in the production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

With global EV sales expected to increase exponentially from three million units in 2020 to more than 60 million by 2040, the demand for lithium-ion battery materials will far exceed the supply. In addition to improving and increasing primary extraction activities globally, battery recycling must play a central role in bolstering the supply chain. Current methods for recycling lithium-ion batteries are energy-intensive, expensive, and low-yield, however. SiTration's recycling process supplements conventional mining with low-cost and sustainable battery recycling that can recapture up to 95 percent of the materials in an EV battery for reuse.

"To meet automaker's existing electrification plans, lithium supply must increase 15 times over – and even if more supply weren't an imperative, vehicle makers are required by regulation to responsibly retire batteries at end of life," said Matthew Nordan, General Partner at Azolla Ventures and member of SiTration's board of directors.

"SiTration is poised to deliver a cleaner and more efficient recycling technique that will unlock low-cost reuse of critical battery materials." 

Author : Debi Dash
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