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General Motors Invests in Lithium Technology Startup EnergyX

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General Motors
Marion - Circa April 2017: General Motors Logo and Signage at the Metal Fabricating Division. GM opened this plant in 1956 III

On Tuesday, General Motors (GM) announced investing in lithium technology startup and Shale Magazine cover alum, EnergyX. The investment is part of GM’s efforts to secure long-term lithium supplies, a critical component in electric vehicle batteries. 

With the global supply chain still tumultuous amidst geopolitical and economic turmoil, the deal paints a promising future for EnergyX, even more so with magnanimous leader Teague Egan steadily at the helm.

General Motors Leads Funding Round for EnergyX 

GM is leading a $50 million Series B financing round for EnergyX and helping EnergyX, a lithium extraction and refinery technology company to further develop its lithium extraction and refinery tech. This powerful alliance is “focused on unlocking the North American supply of lithium,” which holds immense promise for the electric vehicle (EV) market and other industries. says GM. 

The collaboration holds three key components, says General Motors. These include supporting the commercialization of EnergyX’s DLE and refinery processes, exclusive use rights for sourced lithium, and additional financing for lithium production using EnergyX’s technology. 

GM’s investment in EnergyX is part of the automaker’s broader strategy to accelerate its transition to EVs. It plans to invest $35 billion in electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology by 2025, with a forecast to increase its production capacity to more than 1 million electric vehicles by the same year.

Why Did General Motors Invest in EnergyX?

According to GM, the company is actively investing in every single stage of the battery supply chain in North America. That includes raw materials, processing, components, to full-scale battery cell production. “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’s VP of Global Purchasing and Supply Chain.

EnergyX has developed cost-effective and sustainable lithium recovery processes, with a revolutionary approach to extracting lithium from brine using Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE). DLE is more efficient and eco-friendly than traditional methods such as open pit mining or massive evaporation ponds. EnergyX’s focus is on delivering a steady, sustainable supply of lithium, from brine to battery.

Direct lithium extraction (DLE), the company’s novel approach, is more efficient and environmentally friendly than traditional methods such as open pit mining or massive evaporation ponds. The promise of a steady, sustainable supply of lithium helps prepare for the expected spike in demand for lithium in the electric vehicle market and other industries.

GM’s investment in EnergyX is not only a strategic move to secure the supply of lithium, but also a vote of confidence in EnergyX’s innovative technology, which has the potential to fully optimize North American lithium recovery. With this investment, GM and EnergyX are well-positioned to drive down the cost of lithium production, making EVs more affordable and sustainable.

The automaker plans to invest some $35 billion in electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology by 2025. GM has also forecasted growing its production capacity to more than 1 million electric vehicles by 2025.

What Does General Motors Investment Mean for EnergyX?

“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,” says 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,” said Teague. “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.”

The Surge in Lithium Demand

The global push to electrify transportation is creating a surge in demand for lithium. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that global demand for lithium will increase by over 400% by 2030. This growth is driven by the increasing popularity of electric vehicles, which rely on lithium-ion batteries.

Only a few major producers dominate the current lithium market, and there are concerns about the supply of lithium being able to keep up with demand. GM’s investment in EnergyX is a tangible sign that automakers are taking serious steps to secure their future supply chains with new sources of lithium.

The Road to Becoming the Lithium King

Just last year, Teague Egan and his team became the first company ever to design, build, and deploy a DLE pilot plant in the field. EnergyX’s proprietary LiTAS™ technology increases lithium recovery rates to over 90% from the current industry standard of just 30-40% using evaporation ponds. The recovery rates topped at a whopping 94% during their field trials and provided reams of actional data to implement in subsequent pilot phases. “Lithium extraction now is a hatchet—we’re a chainsaw,” Teague said during our exclusive one-on-one interview.

With a widely successful trial behind them, EnergyX is looking to scale its pilot plants into more robust demonstration plants located throughout North and South America. After that, it’s on to full-scale commercialization. 

The latest Series B financing led by GM and other investors propels EnergyX into the spotlight as a global leader in DLE technology. EnergyX has a new warchest to expand R&D into other efforts, such as SoLiS™, a cutting-edge solid-state lithium metal battery program. EnergyX’s ambitious development of a 40,000-square-foot innovation hub in Austin, Texas, is coupled with a rapid growth in personnel of 50 to 100 over the coming months. 

The meteoric growth makes one wonder, if Teague Egan could be so successful with 50 of the best and brightest, what can he do with 100?

Stay Ahead of Energy Moves with Shale 

We keep our fingers on the pulse of energy to deliver fact-based reporting on the topics that matter most to energy industry stakeholders. Check out past issues to read interviews with emerging leaders like Teague Egan, thought-leadership articles from leading researchers, and more. We also help bring the industry together with many professional networking opportunities throughout the year. If you’re on the go, tune into our hit podcast, In the Oil Patch, hosted by the ever-intrepid Kym Bolado. 

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