Frequently Asked Questions
Energy Exploration Technologies is a renewable energy technology company focused on two things.
- More efficient access to sustainable lithium production using direct extraction technology.
- Technology enabling solid state battery electrolytes.
The company is changing the way humanity is powering our world and storing clean energy with breakthrough lithium-ion technology and energy storage solutions.
EnergyX was founded in late 2017, and incorporated in 2018 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
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 with vast energy storage systems to avoid CO₂ emissions and global warming. Read More.
Humans are emitting over 30 billion tons of CO₂ into the atmosphere every year. This is compared to 650 million of the natural earth’s cycle of volcanic mechanisms. If we don’t correct this trend immediately, a terrible outcome lies in our future. See The Math.
We currently have between 10-15 full time equivalents and the team is quickly growing. Check out our Careers Opportunities Section if you are interested in working at EnergyX.
Our main laboratory is in the Silicon Valley Area right by San Francisco and Palo Alto, California. We also have ongoing research and development at the M-WET 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. Get in Touch!
EnergyX has research partners and commercialization partners. We secured the exclusive worldwide rights to a portfolio of 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. See All Our Partners.
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 backing. Read about our victory at the Dubai “Unicorns” Pitch competition.
EnergyX is not a lithium producer. We develop and distribute technology to help lithium producers more efficiently and cost effectively produce their battery grade lithium. Check out our proprietary LiTAS™ Technology, or read below.
DIRECT LITHIUM EXTRACTION
We invented 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 terms, this is how we separate the lithium from the rest of the ion such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, sulfate, and others, which are larger than lithium and have a different charge. Read More.
We had to create our own patented membrane to complete this process. No membrane to date could target and separate specific ions in high salinity solutions. Other technology such as Nanofiltration work in low salinities, however LiTAS™ is a combination of a new class of materials called Metal Organic Frameworks (MOF) combined with polymers for stability, allowing robust mechanical features. Read more about LiTAS™ Technology.
The lithium enriched brine sources pass through the LiTAS™ membrane a series of times to separate, extract, and refine the lithium to the appropriate level. This takes a matter of hours to days depending on a few factors. In some scenarios LiTAS™ may be complementary to conventional pond methods, however in comparison those take an average of 18 months to yield final product. See Comparison.
Depending on the type of brine LiTAS™ is extracting lithium from, we can use 3 different modes: concentration gradient, pressure, and electrodialysis. Concentration gradient uses the least amount of energy, electrodialysis uses the most but including an important concentration step. Traditional reverse osmosis (R/O) facilities (the types of membrane plants that remove all salts out of ocean water) use pressure, which falls in the middle. 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. Learn More.
The first option is to use local sources of energy, hopefully provided by sustainable means such as solar or wind energy. There are 5 main types of sustainable energy generation. Discover Them Here.
LITHIUM & SAFETY
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. Understand Renewable Energy Intermittency.
Lithium, in its pure form, is the lightest metal in the world, hence why its energy density is so high. It is atomic #3 on the periodic table, and is the element that is used in the majority of the world’s rechargeable batteries. Learn More About Lithium.
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 lithium concentration salt brines are in South America in a place known as the lithium triangle. See Sustainability of Lithium Mining.
Lithium is the main, non-replaceable, 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. Read Components of a Battery.
Yes. Lithium is a specialty chemical that can take a few different forms based on its chemical composition with other chemical ions. There is technical grade lithium which is 99% pure, and battery grade lithium which is 99.5% pure. Lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) and lithium hydroxide (LiOH) are the main two main forms of lithium that battery cell manufacturers purchase, 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%) as possible.
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 USD $10,000 – $20,000 per metric ton.
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. Learn More On Lithium-Ion Battery Safety.
TIMING & COSTS
EnergyX is in the technology development and scaling stage right now. We must go through a series of in-field pilot plants before commercial facilities can be deployed. Our best estimate is that EnergyX LiTAS technology will be in the market within 3-4 years’ time. Solid-state battery technology could be implemented prior to that. See Sustainability 101.
Our best predictions are that the first EnergyX facility will be built in the lithium triangle. Salar de Atacama in Chile or northern Argentina in the Salta Province or Catamarca Province all has vast lithium brine deposits. These are the two areas that the biggest lithium producers in the world have their brine operations.
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.
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.