How EnergyX Fast-Tracked its Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) Technology

EnergyX pilot DLE lithium facility

by Angelo Kirchon, Director of Science and Testing Operations

Amid a climate crisis – and make no mistake, that is where we are – innovation is critical to meeting sustainable energy goals. As we navigate towards a carbon-neutral future, the need for sustainable energy solutions is generating remarkably fast advancements in technology.

EnergyX Pivotal Developments

EnergyX lithium extraction and battery technology are two pivotal developments helping us pivot to sustainable energy. 

EnergyX focuses on lithium, the most critical of critical battery minerals. Lithium is the linchpin in the energy transition due to its essential role in lithium-ion battery (LiB) technology. Electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy storage systems heavily rely on lithium-ion batteries to provide efficient and clean power. This makes lithium a vital component in reducing carbon emissions and achieving sustainability. 

Faster Demonstration

We didn’t develop the most efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable lithium extraction solution in the market from scratch. We began with a team of award-winning and experienced scientists. Leveraging their expertise and field experience allowed us to move from the lab to the field unusually quickly. 

The time to take an idea from the lab to practical use in the field can vary widely depending on the complexity of the technology, the industry it’s intended for, regulatory considerations, and funding availability. But let’s say that on average, the process can take a decade or more. EnergyX has moved from the lab to the field in 5 years. How’d we do it?

We started by leveraging proven systems. That allowed us to skip many of the initial stages of trial and error and shortened the research and development (R&D) phase. We’re already setting up manufacturing processes, establishing distribution channels, and have addressed many logistical challenges

EnergyX Technological Advancements

EnergyX leveraged proven engineering systems such as adsorbent columns, membrane stacks, and solvent extraction mixer settlers. So we had fewer risks in implementing our proprietary chemistry. 

Our direct lithium extraction technology, LiTAS™ uses those elements in combination or separately to provide the highest efficiency in both time and cost to extract lithium from brine. 

EnergyX uses electrodialysis and bipolar electrodialysis (BPED) techniques in our membrane-based separation systems. These have been widely used – and proven – in industrial applications from the oil and gas industry to the food and beverage bottling industry. 

Solvent extraction systems are used across industries from mining to water purification. EnergyX uses proprietary solvents as extractants in our LiTAS™separation process. These developed solvents mix with lithium-containing brine and selectively dissolve and remove the lithium from the brine. 

Adsorbents are the term given to solids used for the general purpose of adsorbing gases or dissolved substances. Common adsorbents are sand, clay, gels, and charcoal. You might use a charcoal-based water filter in your kitchen. The adsorbents that EnergyX deploys are used in engineered systems similar to water treatment plants but instead of removing all dissolved chemicals, they only remove lithium.

Achieving Excellence at speed

EnergyX developed our unique chemistry faster and built testing and pilot systems more quickly. We used the time we saved to focus on customizing and enhancing our toolbox of direct lithium extraction (DLE) technologies, LiTAS™, to meet our customers’ specific needs. 

EnergyX DLE can be used in combination or separately to treat any brine type. EnergyX initially developed our proprietary direct lithium extraction technology, LiTAS™ to complement existing lithium evaporation ponds in a phased approach. We believe LiTAS™ will eventually replace outdated methods of lithium evaporation ponds. 

The Future is Now

EnergyX LiTAS™ is not only vastly more efficient than other brine extraction methods, but it is also the most cost-effective and environmentally responsible lithium extraction solution that exists. Our technology makes the entire lithium supply chain more efficient, from brine to battery (LiB). 

And that, my fellow earth dwellers, will definitely advance the energy transition. The faster and cheaper the lithium supply chain is, the faster and cheaper the development and deployment of lithium-based electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage systems (ESS) becomes. That means faster and cheaper deployment of a more reliable and sustainable energy grid. And that’s one big step toward a sustainable energy future.