SiTration, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) spinoff startup company, announced it raised a $2.35 million pre-seed funding round led by Azolla Ventures. The funds are expected to accelerate hiring and support development of its novel conductive membrane technology for the recycling of critical materials in electric vehicle batteries, including lithium, cobalt, and nickel.
SiTration said its filtration membrane technology can reduce the energy used for recycling by as much as 10 times, while recovering over 95% of the critical materials in the battery.
“Our vision is to minimize impact and maximize circularity in the life cycle of critical materials such as lithium, cobalt and nickel,” said Brendan Smith, co-founder and CEO of SiTration.
The conductive membrane technology has been under research and development in MIT for several years. It is now preparing for commercialization, boosted by the seed funding round and the MIT-affiliated E14 Fund.
The process replaces conventional chemical and thermal separation methods with an electrified approach. SiTration said the technology has broad applicability across several different global industries, and it views the critical materials supply shortage for producing lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles as the most pressing need. Annual global EV sales are expected to increase from three million units in 2020 to more than 60 million by 2040, creating a significant need for the efficient reuse of rare-earth metals.
“To meet automaker’s existing electrification plans, lithium supply must increase 15 times over – and even if more supply weren’t an imperative, vehicle makers are required by regulation to responsibly retire batteries at end of life,” said Matthew Nordan, general partner at Azolla Ventures and member of SiTration’s board of directors. “SiTration is poised to deliver a cleaner and more efficient recycling technique that will unlock low-cost reuse of critical battery materials.”
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