DAYTON, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Xerion Advanced Battery Corp., a privately held manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries with a vision to revolutionize the energy industry through the development of disruptive technologies, announced today that it has been awarded the United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) inaugural American-Made Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize, in partnership with a team from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The prize, which includes $1 million in funding from the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO), will accelerate Xerion’s plans to commercialize its innovative, first-of-its-kind ceramic redox membrane technology, which significantly lowers the cost and reduces the energy required to extract lithium from geothermal brine by as much as 90% compared to current technologies.
Xerion’s novel approach to lithium extraction from geothermal brine offers substantial advantages over methods in use today related to selective extraction of lithium, material stability, and environmental impact. This separation technology is a significant extension of Xerion’s advanced dense cathode innovation. Professor Paul Braun, the University of Illinois team lead, notes, "Unlike polymer membranes, Xerion’s DirectPlate™ ceramic membrane is highly resistant to the temperature and chemistry of geothermal brines, providing the required lithium selectivity and durability for real-world operation."
Xerion demonstrated that its patented nanostructured ceramic redox membrane can efficiently extract lithium from raw geothermal brines with low lithium concentrations, such as those found in California’s Salton Sea region, and produce high-quality aqueous lithium hydroxide. This lithium hydroxide can be used directly as a battery feedstock to synthesize cathodes in a single step using Xerion's DirectPlate™ molten salt electroplating process; converted to a lithium metal anode for use in solid-state batteries; or fed into the current conventional cathode production process.
“The development of efficient geothermal lithium extraction technologies promises to simultaneously advance efforts to secure a domestic lithium supply and to solidify the United States’ position in the global transition to net-zero emissions,” stated John Busbee, CEO of Xerion. “Our membrane technology is uniquely suited to harness the full potential of the Salton Sea’s geothermal brine. We look forward to identifying and working alongside partners to continue bringing this exciting innovation to market. The development and commercialization of our low-cost, high-efficiency direct lithium extraction (DLE) from lithium brine sources globally will bring us one step closer to a clean energy future that is powered by homegrown innovation.”
Demand for lithium and other minerals key to a future centered around zero-emission technologies is surging, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). IEA estimates the global demand for lithium tripled between 2017 and 2022, and projects it will double again by 2030. With applications in electric vehicles, stationary energy storage, consumer electronics, aerospace, and defense technologies, lithium is a critical element in the electrification of our economy.
The Salton Sea is home to a lithium supply with the potential to meet all of the United States’ projected future demand and 40% of global demand, according to the California Energy Commission. The market for energy transition minerals reached $320 billion in 2022 and is set for continued rapid growth, according to the IEA’s first annual IEA Critical Minerals Market Review.
Team SelectPure, consisting of Xerion and the University of Illinois, was the first-place winner of the American-Made Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize, having advanced through three competition phases over the course of two years. Work under the prize helps support access to cost-effective, domestic sources of this critical mineral for batteries used in stationary storage and electric vehicles. Funded by the Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO) and administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the American-Made Geothermal Lithium Extraction Prize is part of DOE’s portfolio researching lithium extraction from geothermal brines.
Game-Changing Lithium-Ion Battery Platform
Xerion has spent more than a decade developing its novel lithium-ion battery technology, using a breakthrough production process and a novel new battery architecture to significantly reduce the cost of high-performance lithium-ion batteries. Xerion’s revolutionary manufacturing platform is founded upon two patented core technologies -- DirectPlate™, an innovative refining and deposition technique, and StructurePore™, a novel battery electrode architecture.
These core technologies combined deliver a dramatically lower-cost lithium-ion battery with higher energy density, higher power, faster charge, longer life, improved safety and 40% lower carbon emissions than conventional battery manufacturing.
Xerion’s DirectPlate™ manufacturing process can use less pure, 100% domestically sourced battery precursors and can be adapted to recycle end-of-life batteries. This eliminates the need to import battery materials from China, the current source of nearly 95% of these materials, and strengthens and improves the confidence in the supply chain. At full-scale production, Xerion is poised to drastically transform the domestic battery landscape.
About Xerion Advanced Battery Corp.
Founded in 2010, Xerion Advanced Battery Corp. is a privately held manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries with a vision to revolutionize the energy industry through the development of disruptive technologies. Xerion leverages a patented technology platform to enable step-change performance improvements compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries across a range of attributes while mitigating carbon emissions. Xerion’s core technologies produce fundamental improvements across the full spectrum of the battery supply chain, from mining through to the end user.