Texas [US]: On Tuesday, General Motors announced that they will be spearheading a $50 million financing round for EnergyX, a startup based in Texas that aims to revolutionize the process of extracting and processing Lithium from salt flats. Electric vehicles rely heavily on Lithium, making this an important development for the industry. Additionally, as part of the deal, GM will work with EnergyX to further improve their technology and will have priority access to purchase Lithium from any future projects created by the startup.
EnergyX has showcased its technology through a test facility situated in the "Lithium Triangle," a region comprising of parts of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile, which contains more than half of the global Lithium reserves. Presently, miners in the area mine Lithium by injecting water underground for extracting the mineral, followed by letting the residual brine evaporate in numerous ponds. Although the process is economical, it can only recover 30% to 40% of the total Lithium, in addition to consuming vast quantities of water and land.
EnergyX has secured funding to build five larger demonstration plants across North and South America. The move follows the successful pilot plant opening last year, which showcased EnergyX's innovative technology's ability to recover over 90% of Lithium in brine while utilizing significantly less energy, water and land than current processes.
GM has identified unlocking a North American supply of Lithium as a crucial objective, even though its current extraction methods are not cost-competitive with global supplies. To address this issue, the auto giant is investigating EnergyX's technology, which it believes has the potential to significantly reduce costs and make North American Lithium mining a feasible option while also minimizing the environmental impact.