Endolith secures $1.1M DOE grant to accelerate microbially-based lithium extraction

Endolith, a prominent subsidiary of Cemvita, is proud to announce its recent success in securing a $1.1 million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to harness microbes for sustainable mining. This funding will be directed towards the optimization and expansion of sustainable lithium extraction with an eye towards field deployment alongside industry partner Arizona Lithiumand supporting companies, Lithium Americas and Ioneer.

The grant underscores the DOE’s commitment to supporting innovative technologies that drive the energy transition to a greener and more sustainable future. Endolith, renowned for its pioneering research and dedication to sustainable practices, is ideally positioned to lead this crucial endeavor. This grant will help advance commercialization of Endolith’s bioprocess both domestically and internationally.

Lithium, a critical component in the development of renewable energy solutions, has seen an exponential demand increase in recent years. However, only a small fraction of lithium is sourced domestically, making this critical metal a high priority for national interest.

In year one, the focus will be on optimization, targeting minimal feedstock input, maximal lithium leaching, and minimal leaching of gangue, or unwanted, materials. Year two will focus on construction and validation of a pilot scale bioprocess operation reactor in collaboration with one of Endolith’s industry partners. The ambitious end-goal is to operate this reactor serially, processing multiple one-ton charges of lithium-bearing clay, and showcasing economic recovery of lithium.

“We are tremendously honored to have received this grant from the Department of Energy and to be working with our partners to scale sustainable lithium mining,” said Dr. Liz Dennett, CEO of Endolith. “This funding will enable us to advance our mission of harnessing microbes for sustainable mining which aligns with the DOE’s vision for a cleaner, more energy-efficient future. We are excited to leverage this support to work towards delivering a carbon-negative future.”

Dr. Jesse Colangelo, Head of Geomicrobiology at Endolith and principal investigator of this award, commented on the transition to an alternative energy infrastructure. “Transitioning to an alternative energy infrastructure is one of the great challenges of our time. Through Endolith’s work, we’re pushing the boundaries of what’s technologically possible to create a ripple effect of sustainability across the mining industry and beyond.”


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