Mercuria Energy Trading contributed to a round which will support the international growth of the lithium-extraction technology developer.

US-based lithium mining technology producer Lilac Solutions picked up $150m yesterday in a series B round featuring commodity trading firm Mercuria Energy Trading.

Lowercarbon Capital co-led the round with funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price, while The Engine, Valor Equity Partners and Breakthrough Energy Ventures also participated.

Lilac has created an ion exchange technology which makes the extraction of lithium from brine resources – naturally occurring sources of saltwater – more efficient than current methods.

The brine can be returned underground once the lithium has been extracted, minimising the environmental impact of the process. The series B capital has been allocated to recruitment and expanding production of Lilac’s technology in addition to its international deployment.

The company was co-founded by chief executive David Snydacker in 2016 following his PhD studies in the Wolverton Research Group at Northwestern University.

Snydacker said: “Electric vehicles are a low-carbon success story, but the lithium raw materials needed for batteries have become a serious bottleneck. The lithium industry has been plagued by technical and environmental problems that have put the energy transition in jeopardy.

“Lilac’s technology solves these problems and will finally enable lithium production at a scale demanded for the energy transition. We are thrilled to build this supply chain with support from our investors.”

The Engine had previously participated in Lilac’s $20m series A round in February 2020. That round was led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and included Lowercarbon Capital and Grantham Foundation.

Prime Impact Fund and Tribeca Early Stage Partners co-led a $2.5m pre-series A round for the company in 2019, following an $800,000 seed round featuring unnamed venture capital firms and private investors the previous year.

The original version of this article appeared on our sister site, Global University Venturing.