In a release shared on its website, U.S.-based lithium extraction company Lilac Solutions, announced the first close of a $150 million Series B financing led by Lowercarbon Capital and funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. Additional new investors include Mercuria Energy Trading and Valor Equity Partners; existing investors Breakthrough Energy Ventures and The Engine also participated in the round.
Lilac has developed a new ion exchange technology to increase production of lithium from brine resources. The company has proven the technology on a variety of brines and recently completed its first field pilot, setting a new standard for rapid deployment and process performance. Lilac will use the new funds to ramp production of the company’s unique ion exchange beads, expand its teams of engineers and field operators, and deploy the technology globally.
“Electric vehicles are a low-carbon success story, but the lithium raw materials needed for batteries have become a serious bottleneck,” said Dave Snydacker, CEO of Lilac Solutions. “The lithium industry has been plagued by technical and environmental problems that have put the energy transition in jeopardy. Lilac’s technology solves these problems and will finally enable lithium production at a scale demanded for the energy transition. We are thrilled to build this supply chain with support from our investors.”
Most of the world’s lithium is contained in brine resources – naturally occurring deposits of salt water. These brines are abundant, but resource developers have struggled to bring projects into production due to a lack of cost-effective technology. Lilac’s lithium extraction technology is significantly faster to deploy and more effective than conventional processes and offers better financial returns. The technology allows brine to be returned back underground following lithium recovery; this minimizes environmental impact compared to existing lithium production methods based on evaporation ponds.
Chris Sacca, Managing Partner of Lowercarbon Capital, commented, “I’ve been doing this a long time, but before Lilac, I’ve never seen a company whose product is 10,000x faster than the competition. Lilac’s success means much more affordable electric cars, hundreds of millions of tons less CO2 pollution, and a big step toward enhancing US national security.”
John Qian, portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price, added, “Lilac Solutions holds significant promise in unlocking the world’s latent lithium resources that are currently too low-grade to be conventionally harvested. What’s even more appealing, however, is that the environmental impact of Lilac’s extraction process is potentially orders of magnitude less than more conventional methods. We believe that Lilac is well-positioned to address this important issue facing current and future generations around the world.”
As automakers shift to battery power, concerns about national security sustainability, and human rights have led to increased scrutiny of the lithium supply chain globally. Lilac is partnering with lithium brine resource developers to ramp production while protecting local communities and ecosystems.
Earlier this year, the company won the 2021 Early Stage Company of the year on the Global Cleantech 100 List.
Source: Company release