Year in Review; Looking Ahead at Manufacturing and New Markets
It is a strong finish to the year for the team, with all three of our annual goals exceeded and momentum building into the new year.
Our three goals for 2022 were: 1) executing on our demonstrations, 2) expanding our commercial pipeline, and 3) enhancing our technology.
For this month’s update, we will discuss how the team has delivered on these goals, and set the stage for KMX’s continued growth into 2023.
2022 in Review
1. Successful Demonstrations
Executing on our customer demonstrations has been the top priority for the year.
We have done this with both our core lithium market and in the oil & gas produced water market, leading to the establishment of an important partnership with TETRA Technologies.
We are pleased to announce the early successful results of a critical lithium concentration demonstration, which was recently conducted at our laboratory. We hope to share more details on this demonstration, as well as next potential commercial steps, in the coming months.
The team is preparing for another lithium demonstration within the coming days with an important client, and we hope to share details of this work as well.
We are also pleased to continue to enhance our demonstration and R&D capabilities with the continual upgrading of our advanced vacuum membrane distillation laboratory in Mississauga, ON. Ongoing upgrades are adding to our data monitoring capabilities, lithium specific capabilities, and system flexibility.
We are excited to soon share a major initiative currently underway which will further enhance our demonstration capabilities in 2023.
The team is grateful for Dr. Matt Narrol’s leadership in the lab, and for Najam Abbasi’s management of it.
2. Expanding Our Commercial Pipeline
The commercial team, led by Alexander de Vogel, has successfully expanded our commercial pipeline, and positioned KMX as the leading lithium concentration infrastructure provider.
In addition to our three publicly announced commercial counterparties, Cornish Lithium, CleanTech Lithium, and TETRA Technologies, the commercial team has significantly broadened and expanded KMX’s project pipeline in 2022.
We expect this to continue into the new year (more in the new markets section below), and note the establishment of important commercial partnerships in place for various markets, including for oil & gas (TETRA Technologies), power & utilities (KAAM Group), and remediation and water management (Pacific States Engineering Group).
3. Enhancing Our Technology
We are excited to have significantly enhanced our technology and expanded or IP portfolio this past year, driven by Dr. Sean Ghayeni.
The enhancement of our IP portfolio this past year includes additional protections around our Gen III technology (which has been successfully proven with various customers), for lithium specific applications, and various engineering nuances.
I also want to acknowledge the important development of a formal company trade-secret, reviewed by our IP counsel, and ready to execute as a patent in the future, led by Mostafa Nosraty, P.Eng.
We intend to continue to enhance both our published IP and trade secret portions of our IP portfolio in the coming year.
Regarding trade secrets, we expect to continue to extend KMX’s leadership position in the vacuum membrane distillation and related fields quietly, as we believe the competition “doesn’t know what it doesn’t know”.
Looking Ahead – Manufacturing and New Markets
We intend to announce our 2023 Annual Outlook, including our goals for the coming year, in Ottawa in mid-January, as part of a week of operational, R&D, and strategic meetings with two of our key partners, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and Sumitomo Electric.
However, ahead of this, I will mention that two key initiatives for the coming year are expected to be manufacturing and new markets.
Ramping Manufacturing to Meet Demand
For manufacturing, our engineering team is working with leading third-party engineering & construction partners (global leaders in this field) for the design, procurement, and delivery of our commercial-scale systems of varying sizes. Much credit goes to Chris Kelley, Mostafa Nosraty, P. Eng., and Ghani Hamiti for these efforts.
On manufacturing of our core proprietary membrane bundles (the heart of our commercial-scale systems), we are pleased with our progress with Sumitomo Electric, manufacturer of our Gen III technology.
We are working on Gen III mass production particulars with Sumitomo Electric to meet our growing commercial demand. We hope to share details on this important initiative in the year ahead.
New Markets – Variety of End-Market Applications
Following the establishment of KMX’s place as the leading lithium concentrator in 2022, we are excited to think about additional end-market applications in the year ahead.
We expect lithium to remain KMX’s core market focus; however, as our licensing agreement with TETRA for oil & gas produced water highlights, KMX has significant end-market applications, providing both new growth opportunities and revenue diversification.
Further, we have received some exciting in-bound interest for our technology recently for various end-markets, including power & utility, pharmaceutical, and industrial water treatment markets.
We could establish new channel partnerships for these and other end-markets in the year ahead, as well as look to replicate the establishment of a standalone market vertical (like KMX’s lithium business). More on some of these markets in the months ahead.
We have a busy year ahead of marketing, fundraising, and expansion.
We are excited to have recently hired a leading investment bank to facilitate our growth plans and look forward to meeting with institutional and infrastructure investors in the new year as part of this mandate.
KMX will also be participating in some of the leading energy and ESG financial conferences in 2023, and we are excited to share our story and continued progress at these high-profile events.
For our next update, as mentioned, we intend to provide a detailed 2023 outlook from Ottawa in mid-January, with a particular focus on manufacturing, our lab expansion and additional R&D partnerships, and scaling KMX to meet our growing customer demand.