General Motors’ equity finance arm GM Ventures is leading a $50m Series B financing round in EnergyX and has entered into a strategic agreement to develop EnergyX’s lithium extraction and refinery technology.
GM said 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 maximise efficiency while improving sustainability for GM’s rapidly scaling EV production”.
EnergyX sys its direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology portfolio can make lithium metal directly from brine and potentially in anode-ready form for EV batteries, which it is claimed enables more cost-effective and sustainable lithium recovery to “unlock a vast lithium supply chain in North America that may otherwise be unviable”.
The extensive collaboration between these two American companies includes three key components:
- A technology development program to support commercialisation of EnergyX’s advanced DLE and refinery processes, which could complement or replace traditional methods of evaporation ponds.
- An agreement enabling GM to access competitive lithium offtakes for GM’s exclusive use in EV production, including material sourced from North and South American mining companies contracted by EnergyX.
- Additional strategic financing for lithium production projects in North and South America, using EnergyX’s technology to drive potential supply chain opportunities for GM.
“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, in a press statement. “This single bottleneck (a massive lithium shortage) is the biggest challenge to scaling EV production. We will unlock lithium supply in the US, 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 energised 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.”
“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. “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% of the known global lithium reserves. The company claims its LiTAS (lithium ion transport and separation) technology increases lithium recovery rates to more than 90% from the current industry standard of 30–40% using ponds and hit 94% during their field trials. 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 commercialisation.