KAUST, Ma'aden invest $6M in battery manufacturing startup Lihytech

Lithium Infinity (Lihytech) raised $6 million from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Innovation Ventures and Saudi Arabian mining company Ma’aden. The funds will be utilised to build a pilot facility at KAUST to extract lithium from the Red Sea and other resources within Saudi Arabia.

KAUST will also use the funds to take its battery-grade lithium technology to the commercial pilot scale. It is considered to be an important component that will drive the Kingdom’s commitment to developing the entire value chain of electric vehicles (EVs).

Lihytech’s patented membrane-based lithium extraction technology was developed by Professor Zhiping Lai at KAUST. The technology can extract alkali metals from seawater, brine, red mud, and more.

The startup was funded through a research translation programme called the KAUST Near Term Grand Challenge, as reported by the Saudi Gazette.

“This technology has the potential to be a game-changer,” said Kevin Cullen, Vice President of KAUST Innovation. “Professor Zhiping and his team have found a way to make lithium extraction both technically and economically feasible. We are very pleased that Ma’aden will be joining KAUST Innovation Ventures in moving this technology forward and bringing it to market.”

In January 2023, Ma’aden and KAUST signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate and take laboratory research to the marketplace.

The investment in Lihytech is part of KAUST’s commitment to developing technology for the future in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 agenda.

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