Lihytech, raised $6 million from Saudi Arabian mining company, Ma’aden, and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Innovation Ventures fund.
The startup’s patented membrane-based lithium extraction technology, developed by Professor Zhiping Lai at KAUST, extracts the alkali metal from seawater, brine, red mud, and more, and uses a ceramic membrane to filter lithium ions selectively.
Lihytech will use the raised capital to build a pilot facility to extract lithium from the Red Sea and other in-Kingdom resources and will help Saudi Arabia’s commitment to developing an entire value chain of EVs.
Ma’aden is leading the investment with $4 million and KAUST Innovation Ventures is investing $2 million. The University’s venture capital arm, KAUST Innovation Ventures, supports deep-tech startups that look to offer solutions to pressing scientific and technological challenges, such as lithium extraction.
“We are pleased to partner with KAUST Innovation Ventures to invest in deploying this groundbreaking technology. This technology has the potential to revolutionize lithium extraction through unconventional resources and will certainly support the development of an electric vehicle value chain in the Kingdom. Investments in developing such technologies are important to our wider plans of securing the critical minerals needed for the energy transition and to fuel the development of relevant industries in the Kingdom,” Saud Al-Mandil, Vice President for Technology and R&D at Ma’aden, said.
The startup was funded through the KAUST Near Term Grand Challenge, a research translation program, and the technology is being developed on the campus.
Lihytech’s extraction technology will become a significant addition to the Kingdom’s capability in the mining and securing of upstream raw materials that are critical for the development of the EVs and exchangeable battery systems (EBSs) ecosystem.
Lithium is often called the new “white gold” because its batteries power EVs, smartphones, personal electronic devices and more.
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