Lilac wins new Breakthrough backing in $145m raise


Staff reporter

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Lilac Solutions IX bead manufacturing facility in Fernley, Nevada

US-based lithium extraction technology company, Lilac Solutions has completed a new US$145 million funding round with further backing from Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures and new investment from Mitsubishi.

Lilac CEO Dave Snydacker said the series C funding round also saw Mercuria, Lowercarbon Capital, Engine Ventures, T Rowe Price, Sumitomo Corporation (Presidio Ventures) and Emerson Collective back up earlier investments.

Oakland, California, headquartered Lilac raised $150 million of series B equity financing in 2021.

It says its patented technology can unlock significant brine-lithium production using “10-times less freshwater than aluminium absorbents [and eliminating] the need for evaporation ponds”.

“We now have [more than] 10 large-scale projects under development across three continents,” Snydacker said.

“This has given us several opportunities to show that our technology, Lilac IX, works as well in the wild as it does in our labs.

“We’ve developed an innovative ion-exchange technology and can unlock production from new brine resources that were previously considered untouchable. And our technology is modular for rapid scale-up, leveraging 100% off-the-shelf equipment.”

Lilac is proposing to commercially produce 3000 tonnes a year of lithium carbonate from Utah’s Great Salt Lake by 2026 and potentially increase output to 20,000tpa.

“The next step for this project involves deployment of a field pilot later this year,” Snydacker said.

“Prior lithium developers on the lake have tried to leverage aluminium absorbents, but these require massive evaporation ponds to be successful.

“Even with the lake water having a lithium concentration of only 60 mg/litre, we’re able to directly recover 65% of the lithium, losing only 20mg/l, without any evaporation ponds. This compares to operations in South America, where typically 400-1000mg/l of lithium is wasted from the brine.

“Critically, Lilac returns all water to the lake with no change in chemistry, aside from removal of lithium. This means that our water pumping is non-consumptive and does not negatively impact the lake. Lilac IX has achieved a massive step change in technical and environmental performance, unlocking scalable lithium production from the Great Salt Lake.”

 

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