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EnergyX: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

ABOUT ENERGYX

 

What is Energy Exploration Technologies?

Energy Exploration Technologies is a worldwide leader in the global transition to sustainable energy.  The company is changing the way humanity is powering our world and storing clean energy with breakthrough lithium-ion technology and energy storage solutions.

 

When was EnergyX founded?

 

EnergyX was founded in late 2017, and incorporated in 2018.

 

 

Why do we need EnergyX?

Humanity is going through a critical tipping point right now with global temperatures at an all time high.  Most of this is caused by human CO2 emissions. We need to transition the world’s energy supply to sustainable forms to avoid CO2 emissions and global warming.

 

Why now?

Humans are emitting over 30 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.  This is compared to 650 million of the natural earths cycle. If we don’t correct this trend immediately, a terrible outcome lies in our future.

 

How many employees does EnergyX have?

We currently have 10 full time equivalents and the team is quickly growing.  Check out our careers opportunities if you are interesting in working at EnergyX.

 

Where does EnergyX have offices?

Our main laboratory is in the Bay Area right by San Francisco and Palo Alto, California.  We also have ongoing research and development at the MWET laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin.  Our corporate headquarters is in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and we have offices in New York and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

 

Does EnergyX have any partners?

EnergyX secured the exclusive worldwide rights to the technology from a tri-institutional collaborative effort between Monash University, CSIRO (the Australian National Laboratory), and The University of Texas at Austin (UT).  The work was also backed by a $10.75m U.S. Department of Energy grant.

 

How much funding has EnergyX received?

Aside from the $10.75m DOE grant supporting the University of Texas research, EnergyX has raised in the millions of dollars, and is a privately funded company with substantial financial backers.

 

How is EnergyX different from current lithium producers?

EnergyX is not a lithium producer.  We develop and sell or license technology to help lithium producers more efficiently and cost effectively produce their products.

 

 

 

DIRECT EXTRACTION / EFFECTIVENESS / ENERGY

 

How does EnergyX direct lithium extraction technology work?

We use a novel form of membrane to separate lithium ions out of the complex salt mixture in salt brines.  Think of it like a soup with carrots, potatoes, broccoli and peas. You put the whole soup through a size sieve, where only the water and the peas fit through.  In simple, this is how we separate the lithium from the rest of the ion such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, sulfate, and others.

 

What kind of membrane do you use?

We had to create our own, patented membrane to complete this process.  No membrane before could separate specific targeted ion at such as salinities.  The membrane we created is called LiTAS and is a combination of a new class of materials called Metal Organic Frameworks (MOF) combined with polymers to hold them stable.

 

How long does the EnergyX LiTAS system take?

LiTAS take a matter of hours.  The initial brine source feed passes through the LiTAS membrane a series of times to separate, extract, and refine the lithium to the appropriate level.  The difference between our system and the conventional methods of extract is with LiTAS we are able to recover lithium first, as opposed to last (after 18 months) with older systems.

 

How much energy does a LiTAS use?

Compared to traditional reverse osmosis (R/O) facilities (the types of membrane plants that remove all salts out of ocean water) we use much less energy.  Our estimates are only a fraction, around 1/10 of R/O. Compared to the current lithium evaporation ponds that use sunlight, which essentially has no energy cost, we will cost more than that.  However, as a relative cost to our overall OPEX, the energy costs are very modest.

 

Where will EnergyX systems get its power?

We will use local sources of energy, hopefully provided by sustainable means such as solar or wind energy.

 

 

 

LITHIUM  & SAFETY

 

What are the different types of sustainable energy?

The main sources of sustainable energy generation are solar, wind, and hydro power.  Once the energy has been created from these sources, it is typically distributed through the grid and used immediately.  Batteries come into play if we want to store this energy and use at a later time.

 

What is lithium?

Lithium, in its pure form, is the lightest metal in the world.  It is atomic #3 on the periodic table, and is the element that is used in the majority of the world’s rechargeable batteries.

 

Where does lithium come from?

Lithium is a natural resource that comes from the earth.  Humans mine lithium from a few different sources. There are two main places are 1) From typical hard rock mining from a pit excavated in the ground, 2) From salt brines, which are very salty waters (>30%) which have high concentrations of lithium (think a salt lake).  Most of the high concentration salt brines are in South America in a place known as the lithium triangle.

 

How is lithium use?

Lithium is the main, nonreplaceable, material in rechargeable batteries.  Today the demand for batteries is growing exponentially in order build electric vehicles, and to store renewable energy generated from solar and wind sources.


Are there different kinds of lithium?

Yes. Lithium is a specialty chemical that can take a few different forms based on its chemical composition with other chemical ions.  Lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide are the main two, with lithium hydroxide being a more pure form of lithium. The goal in refining lithium is to get it to be as pure (close to 100%) lithium as possible.

 

How much does lithium cost?

The cost is based on which form of lithium you are purchasing. However the general price of all lithium has seen high volatility over the past few years because of its surging demand and then perceived over supply.  You will typically find the price of lithium somewhere between US $10,000 – $20,000 per metric ton.

 

Is lithium safe?

In its pure form, lithium is a very flammable material.  Lithium can burst into flames in a number of scenarios as what happened with the Samsung phones circa 2017.  This is caused when batteries are not made with the utmost safety precautions. 

 

 

TIMING & COSTS

 

When will EnergyX be ready for market?

EnergyX is in the technology development stage right now. We must go through a series of in the field before commercial facilities can be deployed.  Our best estimate is that EnergyX will be in market within 5 years’ time.

 

Where will the first EnergyX facility get built?

Our best predictions are that the first EnergyX facility will be built in the lithium triangle, either in the Salar de Atacama in Chile, or the Salta Province Argentina.  These are the two areas that the biggest lithium producers in the world have their brine operations.

 

How much lithium will a facility produce?

The EnergyX lithium extraction membrane is a modular technology.  This means that it is easy to expand production by simply adding more membrane.  We have built our models to account for 10,000 tons of lithium production, but it is very easy to expand to 50,000 or 100,000 plus tons of production by adding more membrane module clusters to a facility.

 

How much will an EnergyX facility cost to build and operate?

The CAPEX to build a facility largely relies on the amount of production anticipated.  The membranes are one of the highest costs, so the more you produce, the more membranes will be needed.  However, our CAPEX and OPEX are both a fraction of conventional methods to produce lithium from both brines and hard rock methods, and we anticipate a seismic shift to our technology from all current processes.