KMX Discusses Lithium Concentration at the Credit Suisse Mobility Forum
Last week, we participated in the Credit Suisse Mobility Forum. KMX was the only lithium concentrator invited of the roughly 30 companies, 70% and 30% of which were public versus private.
We’re pleased to share some of our key takeaways, investor questions, and details on what we shared at the Forum here.
KMX’s Key Takeaways from the Credit Suisse Mobility Forum
The outlook for lithium, driven by the shift to electric vehicles, remains robust. Credit Suisse sees electric vehicle growth unabated, with EV’s representing roughly 40% of the global passenger vehicle fleet by 2030, up from under 5% today. Notably, Credit Suisse estimates legacy automakers have committed to over a half trillion dollars to the EV transition.
This EV growth should lead to lithium demand outstripping supply in the interim term, as highlighted in Figure 2 below.
Where Does KMX Fit into the Lithium Value Chain?
As the only lithium concentrator at the Forum, our unique role in the lithium value chain was of interest.
The figure below illustrates the three-step process in bringing lithium from brine to battery grade lithium. As shown, KMX represents the critical second step: concentrating lithium following the Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) process, or following the legacy evaporative pond process.
As shown below, once KMX concentrates the post-DLE or post-pond lithium, it is now ready to be converted from its natural state (lithium chloride) to battery grade lithium (lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate).
Figure 3: Three-Step Process in Bringing Lithium from Brine to Battery Grade Lithium
Source: KMX Technologies, LLC
Key Investor Questions for KMX
KMX’s Competitive Advantage
Aside from KMX’s role in the lithium value chain, the majority of questions focused on KMX’s unique competitive advantages.
KMX’s main competition in concentrating lithium is an energy-intensive, two-step process utilizing a mechanical evaporator and a mechanical crystallizer. A third step (adding a condenser) is necessary for recovery of water.
KMX offers lithium miners a one-step solution with estimated cost savings of 30% for CAPEX and around 30% for OPEX. The CAPEX savings are driven by lower material costs, while the OPEX savings stem from lower heat and energy requirements.
Importantly, KMX delivers maximum water recovery with the highest quality standards, providing lithium project developers an important water stewardship advantage over projects that are subject to legacy evaporators and crystallizers.
South American Lithium & Water in Focus
Several investor questions related to South America, including the application of our technology in the region amidst growing water concerns. To this extent, we were pleased to discuss our work with CleanTech Lithium, which is developing two large lithium Salars in Chile utilizing next generation sustainable technologies and adhering to the highest environmental standards.
The high levels of freshwater utilized as part of the DLE process was noted as a deterrent for the incumbent pond operators from entering the DLE space. We view this as an opportunity for KMX, as our technology creates distilled quality water as part of the lithium concentration process, eliminating or reducing the need to draw from local freshwater sources for DLE.
KMX’s Applications and Opportunities Outside Lithium
Beyond lithium, we discussed some of the opportunities presented by KMX’s powerful cross-cutting technology, including in industrial water treatment, traditional energy markets, and brine concentration. Various monetization and revenue diversification opportunities were discussed outside lithium as well.
We are grateful for Credit Suisse’s Automobile group for inviting KMX to participate in this timely and important Forum, particularly considering the looming lithium supply and demand imbalance and growing water issues in various regions.
Next, we will be discussing KMX’s unique technology as it relates to oil & gas at the Produced Water Society’s Annual Conference in Midland, TX on August 16-17.