AUSTIN, Texas — Currently, companies like Tesla are pushing for solar power and batteries to help the electric grid in Texas at times of peak demand. The bulk of the lithium produced for those batteries comes from overseas, but Austin-based company EnergyX is changing that and wants to make sure it’s clean enough for the environment.
Creating the lithium to power the batteries can be harmful for the environment because the extraction process can contaminate water.
Teague Egan, founder and CEO of EnergyX wants to make Texas a powerhouse refinery of lithium, all while being environmentally friendly.
“There is an opportunity for EnergyX to become a major substantial player in energy transition,” said Egan. “I think that we’ve carved out a niche in lithium extraction and refinery, in which we are one of if not the leader in that category.”
Lithium is what powers the batteries used for electronics in our daily lives, like a cellphone or laptop, even electric vehicles, but the production process can be harmful to the environment.
Energyx is aiming to change that.
“If you have a bring or very salty water that has a lot of lithium in it, using solvent extraction is one of the ways to get lithium out. I think overall, direct lithium extraction is the most environmentally friendly way to extract lithium,” Egan said.
Batteries could also be a future contributor to the Texas grid if passed in the next legislative session, but Teague says supply chain issues are slowing things down.
“If you think about all the electric vehicle companies, or all the car companies that are looking to transition their fleets to electric, the reason that hasn’t happened quicker, is due to the supply chain of procuring batteries, and the materials that go into batteries.”
President Biden also addresses lithium production in his National Blueprint for lithium batteries. It’s listed as a critical mineral that’s essential to the United States’ security.
“If we can produce lithium more efficiently, more effectively, in more abundance, then that will speed the shift to electric vehicles and renewable energy in the future,” Egan said.
Teague could be behind making it to that goal and wants to see it happen within the next few years.