GM Leads $50M Funding Round for Lithium Supplier EnergyX

DETROIT – General Motors Co. said its venture capital unit, GM Ventures, is leading a $50 million financing round in Energy Exploration Technologies Inc. – or EnergyX – to enhance that company’s lithium extraction and refining technology.

The parties have entered into a strategic agreement that is focused on unlocking North America’s supply of lithium, a critical material for electric-vehicle batteries, by using EnergyX’s innovative extraction process.

EnergyX’s direct lithium extraction technology portfolio can make lithium metal directly from brine and potentially an anode-ready form for EV batteries, which enables more cost-effective and sustainable lithium recovery to unlock a vast lithium supply chain in North America that may otherwise be unviable.

GM is investing in every stage of the battery supply chain in North America, from raw materials, to processing, to cell components and full battery cell production.

The extensive collaboration includes three key components:

  • A technology development program to support commercialization 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 of 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.”

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’s LiTAS technology increases lithium recovery rates to more than 90% from the current industry standard of 30 to 40%.

“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.”

This new round of financing, funded by GM and other investors, helps solidify EnergyX as one of the world leaders in DLE technology and 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. The company employs more than 50 and will increase that number to 100 in the coming months.

Pictured at top: The General Motors logo is displayed outside the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant in Hamtramck, Michigan, on Jan. 27, 2020 (AP Photo | Paul Sancya, File)

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