Insider's Guide to Energy

Episode 34 Lithium technology improvements to enable the renewable future being planned

August 22, 2021 Chris Sass
Insider's Guide to Energy
Episode 34 Lithium technology improvements to enable the renewable future being planned
Show Notes Transcript

This week Chris and Johan speak with Teague Egan CEO of EnergyX.  He shares his story of how he came to find a better way to extract Lithium and why that is so important. He has built an amazining company which is looking to go public in the very near future.  Come find out more about EnergyX and how their process is changing the game.

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 | Timestamp | Speaker | Transcript

| 00:00.00 | chrissass |  welcome to insiders guide to energy yohan welcome back to the program how you doing today.
| 00:01.10 | Johan | Um, yeah.
| 00:09.64 | Johan | Yeah, good, not bad at all. Thanks back in Switzerland after a few weeks on the road back in my home country sweden.
| 00:17.83 | chrissass | Yeah, so how was sweden What was new there.
| 00:22.70 | Johan | That's been always good as we we discussed in in the previous show getting away a little bit from from your daily life meeting your families and your your relatives friends and all the rest but also also a few things you know you've been away from. But time and you start seeing your country from a different point of view.
| 00:38.91 | chrissass | Yeah I mean I was back in the us for a few weeks here I saw quite a bit of difference between europe and the us it didn't seem like there was a whole lot of covid concern where I was it was at the beaches. It was crowded. The bars were packed. Um, but pretty frankly I was just happy to be traveling again. It's good to be out. It's it's good to be seeing things um, anything else in your mind today that you might talk about.
| 01:00.76 | Johan | No I think some reflections being home I think we mentioned this in the precoll that we had was fascinated me was yes covid it's totally different to hear when we have the lockdown. Ah, but also the digital. You know we saw kids in Sweden now running around with payment solutions in mobile phones we have zero cash. You cannot use cash anywhere which is quite surprising when compared to where we are today in Switzerland but we'll see where it goes I Mis cash sometimes but very very simply It's also very convenient to have it in the mobile phone. But I think it also links a little bit back into the show because we are talking about transformation and changes not only on smartphones and payments for kids but also new areas which which I think will be interesting.
| 01:50.33 | chrissass | Yeah I mean I think the smartphone payment leads to imobility which leads to what was on my mind today which was what biden said that by twenty thirty half of automobiles in the us that are sold in the us need to be evs so when I were seeing another major market jump into evs now that's cool. I'm all into it. But what I worry about is how are we going to power all these What's the supply chain look like where are all those batteries going to come from and it just so happens today's guest is someone that's in a great position to tell us how that's going to take place and how that can happen in the future.
| 02:23.41 | Johan | Yeah, and and and not only in terms of batteries but also being the entrepreneur which I I really look forward to. We had a few on them on the show before people that are really set out to do change in areas that are changing. Electric mobility is interesting Biden said 2031 of my favorite kind of leaders in the energy world is tony ziba he said 2025 is the breaking point on being on the road for 3 days driving from Sweden down to Switzerland there's a number of evs on the road. All right there are there are much much more of the others. But for sure we see a lot of them.
| 03:00.88 | Teague egan | Chris Johan Thanks for having me glad to be here.
| 03:05.54 | chrissass | Well let's switch gears. So I agree there's lots of evs on the road. There's more and more each year I expect to see a lot but our guest here is in a better position to share about it so without further ado let me introduce tig egan ceo of energy x take welcome to the program.
| 03:14.13 | Teague egan | Yeah, so I'm the founder and Ceo of energyx and energyx is a company focused on the energy transition. What does that mean we look at how batteries are being produced and how we can produce more batteries.
| 03:24.35 | chrissass | Well, we're glad to have you as well. Um, so we know who you are but perhaps just a real short background of yourself for our audience would be helpful.
| 03:33.39 | Teague egan | As well as the battery materials. So what goes into making batteries raw materials such as Lithium being the main material in batteries and how Lithium is produced so we focus on the entire ev battery supply chain.
| 04:03.68 | Teague egan | Um.
| 04:10.50 | chrissass | So I went to your website in show prop and I was joking with Johann earlier in the day when we were talking I said you know if I were to make trading cards of a who's who. Have a company like yours your advisory board is very impressive. They come across in the industry and we should make a deck of trading cards because it's just about everybody. You would want if you were going to start the company you you did? Um, what I I do wonder about though is. Lithium batteries. So I watched your promo videos I read the website and and it seems that you've got some technology that you're you're bringing to market to help us be more efficient to harvest lithium is there enough.
| 04:40.58 | Teague egan | Yeah, so we have a pretty good advisory board. Um, you know that's that's important for trying to grow a company I think these are these are people with a lot of experience from you know, many years in the field working at.
| 04:50.48 | chrissass | Are we going to meet the demand I mean if if suddenly countries like Norway say everybody's got to have an ev and and we stop making combustion engines. Do we have enough capacity.
| 04:58.87 | Teague egan | Some of the biggest energy companies and battery companies. So they've provided a lot of guidance and advisory ship to me as you know I've I've built the company into what it is today. Um, as far as do we have enough enough lithium. Ah. Until now the world has never needed that much lithium. There was no. There was no real big purpose for it as opposed to something like Copper or steel where you literally need millions of tons of. These materials or metals to build and wire electricity and things like that. So with electric cars becoming so important all of a sudden we needed all of this lithium and the truth is the manufacturing. Methods to produce lithium weren't there yet. Ah, the way that the way that lithium was produced was really outdated and was only meant to supply the amount of demand that the world needed which. Only 10 years s ago was less than a hundred thousand tons a year which is a you know you think about 1 hundred thousand tons. It might seem like a lot that's a relatively small number. Ah last year there was about 3 hundred and 15000 tons of demand and by 2025 that number is going to be 1 point 2 million tons of demand and then by 2040, you're looking at about 5 point five million tons of lithium demand. So it's an exponential curve looking at where we were in 2010 where we are going to be in 2040 um, there is enough lithium out there to supply that but it's all about how quickly and efficiently and most importantly cost effectively. You can extract this lithium. It doesn't do any good to extract it for exorbitant amounts because that obviously adds to the top line of the car. How much that'll cost the end buyer. So what we're working on is more efficient and cost-effective technology to extract lithium. Ah, in the production process.
| 07:43.66 | Teague egan | So our first initial customers are the lithium producers. There's already you know a dozen companies out there and these are these are large chemical manufacturing or mining companies that produce lithium already.
| 07:47.27 | Johan | So in in doing this I think it's really interesting who who are your customers. We're talking about the Eva being the end. What 1 of the end um parts of this because they needed for their cars. But for gx who who are your customers.
| 08:03.27 | Teague egan | Um, so those are our initial customers and we have a technology that we sell to them that can make their process more efficient right? So a good analogy that I like to use is we make the economic equivalent. Of fracking for Lithium now fracking has some negative connotations in terms of environmental and that's not what I'm focused on at all our process is actually more green or more environmentally friendly than the existing methods. But when you think about the economics of fracking they introduced. Ah, technology to the existing like oil rig well production and fracking made it so that the yield or output from that existing production was exponentially greater like 5 or 10 times greater the amount of. Oil or gas that they could pull up. Ah so that obviously makes your per unit economics much less and that's what we've done for Lithium So using existing methods of manufacturing we add our technology and the output of Lithium is. Exponentially greater.
| 09:37.16 | Teague egan | Yeah, so real quick clarification. It's not the battery makers. It's the Lithium producers the Lithium producers then sell the lithium to the battery makers right? So the the Ev battery supply chain is not yet.
| 09:43.57 | chrissass | And so has it been well received in the industry then the the battery makers and others are they licensing your are they lining up to license your technology or are they in like a space race with you to try to develop their own more efficient process.
| 09:55.10 | Teague egan | Completely vertically Integrated. You don't have a company like exxon that drills for you know oil and gas and then also is the gas station itself right? that there's a lot of vertical integration that's occurred in oil and gas for Lithium and then. Lithium goes into 1 part of the battery called the cathode and then the cathode is manufactured into a full cell. These are all kind of still separate companies and they're they're companies working on vertical integration but our customers are the Lithium producers. So Some of the biggest ones are. Sqm That's a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange Albamar is a big 1 or a cobray is a big 1 gon Feg is a big 1 out of China So those are you know, probably little known companies. But these are. 1020 billion dollars companies that are huge mining and chemical manufacturing companies. So as far as your exact question about is it and a space race. All these companies are trying to also develop their own more efficient processes. Ah. But in in any industry bigger companies look to acquire smaller technologies that are more nimble that have ability to scale. You know we have put together a great patent portfolio about our technology we have 23 patents. You know we've been working 3 years on developing this with about now a team of 30 people ah in our in our laboratories and we've developed a great technology so you know we're getting looked at by these customers as. You know a potential client or you know there's a lot of different strategic relationships that can that can be had there.
| 12:10.79 | chrissass | So I see that you have a number of university folks and universities working kind of a partnership with your your company as well or doing research with you so assume some of those twenty or 30 ah Ah some of the the doctors and and folks that I've saw on the website. Um.
| 12:28.40 | Teague egan | Yeah, yeah, so that's a great a lot of people read headlines about breakthrough technologies and.
| 12:28.32 | chrissass | Now I'm a serial entrepreneur myself I did ah did a company with a bunch of mit guys and it was about the slowest moving company ever worked at they were the smartest people I've ever hung out with but have them design a commercial product and and it doesn't go very quick. So so how do you get through that entrepreneurial site because I've seen you speak, you've got a lot of energy. You want to go out and get the market going.
| 12:41.92 | Teague egan | They don't realize that this is happening in a university on like a bench scale like a very small scale and to take something from a bench scale and scale it up to commercialization is extremely hard and.
| 12:47.91 | chrissass | And you got a bunch professors doing research. So how does that work.
| 12:57.95 | Teague egan | You know elon talks a lot about this how making like 1 prototype is really easy but making a million tesla cyber trucks is the hardest thing ever right? like yeah, it's easy to make 1 tesla cyber truck to make a million that's just you know there's thousands of different parts. I was just reading this article about the cold rolled steel manufacturer that makes the steel for the cyber truckck. It's not like Tesla is making that steel that company is building a 1 point 6 billion dollars steel manufacturing plant in texas as well. There's just so much. There's so many parts and so much material that goes into this that plan is called dynamic steel isn't even tesla so another 1 point 6 billion dollars plant has to be made just to make the steel that makes the tesla cyber truck. So as we talk about. Ah. Professors in the universities. it's it's been it's been 1 of our biggest challenges you know, ah these professors and and really their ph d groups in the universities universities are meant to do very fundamental research and they have. Extraordinary resources resources that companies startup companies or growth stage companies like ours don't have access to you know multimillion dollar pieces of equipment spectrosp spectroscopy microscopes know just all of this. All this amazing stuff and they have you know 30 ph d students in their group doing small research on fundamentals and so we did a license for our first four patents in our portfolio with the university of texas and then it was it was. My challenge to say how do we scale this and scale it quickly. So there's a thing called technology readiness levels and it's a Nasa standardized um scale of kind of. An idea at at ideation all the way up to commercialization. It's a 1 to nine tech trl scale and so we look at that to judge. Okay, like how much progress are we making and you know I hired some of the people from. Ah. Labs at texas to join our team but it's a little bit of a different mindset the academic mindset versus the industry or you know we don't necessarily care like how it works on a fundamental level. We just care that it works and that it can produce a product.
| 15:46.53 | Teague egan | Right.
| 16:09.15 | Johan | That's an interesting approach coming back a little bit to what you mentioned around the steel factory and and the 1 point 6 billion dollars investment. Obviously what we're seeing in the in the traditional car industry automotive industry is the. The side effects of the combustion engine more or less disappearing that means service opportunities that's been a big market that means the yeah the whole network around the the automotive the automode is disappearing in in many ways. But. Obviously as anything that creates new opportunities in this case for the steel opportunities going back to lithium where do you see opportunities here you know being quite novice around the production or the extraction of lithium we heard the stories around Africa where they but.
| 16:54.68 | Teague egan | Yeah, so you know just like any ah fundamental in life. The only permanent thing is change and with the introduction of electric vehicles. We're of course going to see.
| 16:59.95 | Johan | That but are there other areas where you see that this becomes the new middle East of of a lithium rather than oil or is there. New opportunity is that we create new businesses in areas that we haven't seen before or is it the same same companies and same industries that will will drive this market.
| 17:13.95 | Teague egan | Some of the internal combustion engine and services around that disappear but with that comes a whole new infrastructure around you know, charging stations and really around this this ev battery supply chain that I've been discussing right? um. You know we're we're very far up on the supply chain. We make the technology that the raw material producers use the raw material producers produce the raw materials and there's there's a supply chain within that they then sell that to ah the cathode companies. The cathode companies sell to the battery. cell manufacturers and then the cell manufacturers probably put those into into packs or modules. There's the battery management system. There's so many new companies that are starting and evolving around this ev supply chain that all of those old jobs. Are going to shift towards this new supply chain. So um, in terms of that side of the question new jobs will replace old jobs now in terms of ah, the geographical center of of this There's an area. Down in south america that's actually known as the lithium triangle and it's an area that is extremely rich in in lithium salt brines which is where lithium is found and a lot of people are comparing it to the middle east of oil. It has about seventy percent of.
| 18:41.80 | Johan | Um, yeah.
| 18:51.45 | Teague egan | Known world's lithium reserves so that's ah, that's a huge number and it's a relatively compact region in the north of chile North of argentina and Southern bolivia and the reason that this place is so rich in Lithium. Is largely geographical just like the middle east where the andes mountain range which is the second largest mountain range in the world behind the himalayas is relatively close to the pacific ocean and it separates or it goes right down. Ah the middle of south america. And these volcanic formations that created the andes mountain range when it would rain and the water would try to find its way down to the oceans on 1 side it created the Amazon rainforest when it tried to get to the atlantic on the other side when it went to the pacific it created these these. Vast salt flats because the water would trap all of the all these salts ah during that process. So. There's huge salt flats and now dried up Salt lakes that have really high concentrations of lithium. And this is where the largest lithium companies in the world that I mentioned before operate down in in chile and you know several more are starting and creating. You know lithium resources down there and that's where. We're we're deploying our technology down in the lithium triangle.
| 20:26.23 | Johan | Um, yeah.
| 20:37.88 | Teague egan | So so it's processed in china but it's not produced in China so once the lithium is processed by these companies they send it to the cathode or the battery cell manufacturers and all of those are are located in china.
| 20:44.60 | chrissass | So but today I thought most lithium is processed perhaps in China is what when my naive self believes is that not a true stat that I've read somewhere is there not a lot of it processed in china today.
| 20:56.80 | Teague egan | So there's this complex web of where the materials go to be processed, but it's not produced in China it's processed into batteries or cathodes and batteries in china and then those cells are then shipped to you know all over the world right.
| 21:26.29 | Teague egan | Yeah, so it's it's yeah, absolutely so it's from it's in solution. So it's it's in liquid salt water. But this isn't any. This isn't normal salt water like you think about the ocean is is Salt water right.
| 21:33.98 | chrissass | So now the technology that you your company has are you taking it from liquid salt water. Are you taking salt flats of Salt I mean I think there's multiple products that you have or or things you do? What's your process. Maybe that helps us a little bit.
| 21:45.33 | Teague egan | Ocean is about 3 percent salinity. Um, and if you've ever had a mouthful of Ocean water. It tastes pretty salty right? This is 30 to forty percent salinity. So like 10 times the salinity of Ocean water and ah. There's a lot of different salts that make up that thirty percent salinity lithium being 1 of them others being you know your typical table salt like Sodium chloride. Ah there's magnesium salt there's calcium Salt there's potassium Salt what our technology does. Is using a mechanical separation process. It separates just the lithium out. Um the lithium starts at about point 1 percent of the total solution. So a pretty small percentage. Ah. But we want to concentrate and purify and and extract just the lithium out.
| 23:02.60 | Teague egan | Yeah, exactly I mean you know there's always going to be the naysayers. The haters that have a problem with what you're doing every single thing that we use is extracted in 1 form of or another from the earth right.
| 23:04.19 | chrissass | And so I think I've also heard you say 1 of the difference between perhaps fossil fuels and using something like Lithium is once you've mined it you can reuse it so is that part of your premise as well. This is better because once we have lithium we have batteries we recharge them and we keep we keep using the energy efficiency of them is that.
| 23:21.70 | Teague egan | All of that steel at the steel plant for Tesla that's all extracted from the earth the computer that you're using the house. You're living in all of this material is extracted from the earth and and leaves some sort of carbon footprint the difference between a renewable energy future.
| 23:23.64 | chrissass | Part of the model that you're supporting.
| 23:41.50 | Teague egan | And a fossil fuel energy past is that fossil fuels. You extract them from the earth and you burn them 1 time and they're gone with Batteries. You extract it from the Earth. It's the same exact thing but now you can use that battery for 20 years with renewable energy from the sun or the wind or however, it's generated once that battery's life cycle has ended then you can recycle it ah and and and you know lithium recycling and battery recycling is going to be a huge industry in the next twenty or so Years. Um, but but it's ah now it's a renewable circular ecosystem as opposed to you know, burning burning something once to create energy or using heat or fuel.
| 24:41.10 | Teague egan | Ah, so ah, the lithium is pumped up from the ground in a liquid solution form. Ah, and it's what's in it's in. It's a salt. It's in a liquid right? and then right now.
| 24:50.56 | chrissass | How how big is the lithium that you produce like are you you know and we are having super tankers going around type things moving it from South America to the points or how how big is I have no idea.
| 25:00.48 | Teague egan | Way that they extract it from the liquid is using these massive evaporation Ponds. So the sun naturally evaporates the water the h two o part and then the salts they crash or precipitate out 1 by 1 so you have just a salt right. And the problem with that are a few things 1 that takes up huge landmas I mean these pan systems are like literally bigger than Manhattan like the size of new york city. They're huge fifteen square miles 2 is that it takes a long time to. Use natural evaporation and actually let the sun evaporate the water I mean it can take an average It takes an average of eighteen months to go through these pond systems and 3 it has a very low recovery rate because it's an inexact process or science. You know the the lithium salt. Likes to co-precipitate with other salts and you can't have that you need a pure lithium product so we come in and implement a mechanical separation process that is in a controlled environment so if it rains you know that's obviously counterintuitive to try to evaporate water out. So it's in a controlled environment where we we have membrane technology that just lets the lithium pass through and it still ends up in a solution. But then we crystallize the Salt bolithium salt out. So it's not in big oil tankers. It's actually in a. It's it's shipped on big cargo ships. But it's like pure lithium salt in big bags like 1 ton Salt bags I guess you could say just very valuable Salt bags. Yeah.
| 27:07.98 | chrissass | That's just curious.
| 27:08.26 | Johan | Um, extremely. So ah obviously lithium in general has had not just for the cars. It has quite um, ah some some acknowledgement for example, the nobel prize was was awarded. Think it was last year to to research on on on some kind of lithium areas. So so there's a lot of positiveness coming around now in regards to this but we cannot kind of shelter away a little bit also from the kind of the negative stories right? or wrong which be interesting to hear. But as soon as you know I had a discussion.
| 27:39.37 | Teague egan | Um.
| 27:46.97 | Johan | Recently with with a um with a petrol head who said that you know moving to electric car doesn't matter because just extracting the lithium is not sustainable at all and so I'm continue driving my petrol. So so you know there's a lot of discussions around the sustainability.
| 27:55.28 | Teague egan | Yeah I mean I mean I think I I think I just answered that ah everything needs to come out of the earth that we use. It's just is it sustainable after or not and.
| 28:05.83 | Johan | Equals or not equals the lithium in general. What? what are your thoughts around this or is is this just a ah hoax or is it. Ah, where are we is it sustainable.
| 28:18.72 | Teague egan | Yeah, yeah, you know part part of this is we obviously want to make you know I gave the fracking example earlier our process we we obviously want to make our extraction process more green and efficient than the existing methods but there will.
| 28:29.17 | Johan | But that's that's actually extracting it but the way we do it. We see the minds in Africa with with kids and doing a lot of the hard work because the machinery is not there or.
| 28:36.42 | Teague egan | Always be some sort of carbon footprint for extracting anything right? and you know you mentioned the mines in Africa like that they have children mining for 1 of the 1 of these battery materials. It's called cobalt in the congo and a lot of you know, not just because that's like.
| 28:46.31 | Johan | Um.
| 28:55.76 | Teague egan | Where all the where all the cobalt is there are people looking for other sources of cobalt. You know, maybe more organization and infrastructure comes into the Congo and ah puts more um, like practices in place to avoid child labor.
| 28:55.90 | Johan | Yep.
| 29:11.13 | Johan | Chapter.
| 29:14.80 | Teague egan | And that would be you know, just like any big traditional mining company that that could be able to do that but companies are looking at making batteries that are cobalt free because cobalt is cobalt is effective in batteries. But it's also not absolutely necessary like Lithium is um.
| 29:31.98 | Johan | And.
| 29:32.87 | Teague egan | So there's there's naystader. Yeah, you would expect a petrol head who runs an oil company to say I let's just put it that way. Yeah.
| 29:42.16 | Johan | After.
| 29:51.78 | Johan | So You wouldn't see the same kind of stories around Lithium as cobalt. Yeah, yeah, they mix everything together and say it's just not going to be sustainable.
| 30:01.90 | Teague egan | Stephen.
| 30:05.28 | chrissass | So the technology is not super mature. Um, where does it go right? So we we get all this lithium we we we we go through this learning curve. So I'm I'm a technologist from Silicon Valley type and I'm used to things doubling every eighteen months and things like that.
| 30:16.70 | Teague egan | Yeah, yeah, so um I don't think that we're going to see Moore's law with battery developments but you know more Moore's law is obviously ah.
| 30:23.85 | chrissass | But the batteries haven't doubled yet. So how do we get the Moore's law for technology to apply to battery and does lithium the long term play or perhaps is there a better play. That's just out of reach right now for us.
| 30:34.84 | Teague egan | And extremely important metric for computers and and chip computer chips and software and processing speed. However, as as I like to look at batteries the the comparison that I like to make is around pharmaceuticals. And you look at where so in 1900 the average lifespan was forty 7 years old or forty nine years old forty 7 or forty nine years old today. The average lifespan. Is 79 years old it's increased 30 years in the past 1 hundred years I mean that's but that's crazy to think about 1 of the reasons is because huge pharmaceutical companies have put fifteen percent. Their entire budget into r and d developing new pharmaceuticals or medicines that can keep that eradicate disease and keep people healthier for longer. Ah, now of course you need to add in our understanding around biology. But that's part and parcel to pharmaceutical companies. You know, diet and exercise our our understanding of that but fifteen percent of these you know multi hundred billion dollar companies budgets goes into r and d for batteries that number is less than 1 percent until now until the past. You know, handful of years like 5 6 7 years there was no investment into batteries and energy storage that whole rhetoric and story has changed now you literally have billions of dollars and huge budgets. Going into energy storage. So we're we're up, we're we're about to witness a really exciting 102040 years in where energy storage is now to where it's going.
| 33:00.20 | chrissass | So how does that help our lot of our listeners are energy companies. They they produce power of different sorts. So we we spend a lot of the show talking about evs but it's not just about evs right? We we've got a windmill for wind farm. We got a solar farm. Whatever we've got we need to store energy.
| 33:10.61 | Teague egan | Yeah I think I think so it's a really good comparison when you think about where ah solar or wind generation costs has has what was started.
| 33:18.71 | chrissass | How is that working along with your strategy is that aligning is there demand for batteries for that or is it still the models where people are buying warehouses and taking old tesla batteries and putting them in when they're you know, sixty percent used up and what's what's the vision there.
| 33:28.92 | Teague egan | And where that cost has come down to as compared to say like Coal. It's less expensive to produce renewable energy using solar and wind than it is coal. Ah that that same cost curve will happen in. Batteries which is the other side of renewable energy right? There's generation and then there's storage and the focus right now of energy storage is mainly around emobility because you need that storage to be mobile. Um, but I think that utility grid scale. And domestic storage like home batteries or you know office building batteries or complete grid batteries is is the next wave or next real you know utilization or application of energy storage. We're going to see and but but it's it's it's in direct correlation to the cost of energy storage. We've now made batteries that it's economical to buy an electric vehicle. They're still you know, moderately more expensive than than ice cars. But once once that cost curve comes down even further and and you can have batteries powering cities. You know that's going to be a huge huge milestone for the energy transition.
| 35:00.99 | Teague egan | Yeah, yeah, exactly.
| 35:16.26 | chrissass | It reminds me of the analogy of the Cd The laser laser Dis displayer and the theconmies of scale we got from having Cds so you on what do you got for me.
| 35:26.13 | Johan | So setting aside a little bit the the lithium and and the the process and and the future. Well I'm also interesting I mentioned this in the beginning. Ah I read a little bit about you and as serial entrepreneur.
| 35:34.72 | Teague egan | Yeah, it was those it was a lot of it was a lot of colliding forces I think you know um I've been a tesla shareholder and vehicle owner since 2013
| 35:43.59 | Johan | Having done business in number of areas philanthropic as well. What got you into this was it a pure business opportunity or is there anything else that drove you into to the creating Energy x.
| 35:52.14 | Teague egan | And really, that's when I started following elon's story and and his mission to make you know the planet and humanity a better place and I wanted to have similar purpose in my life. You know anybody can choose how they focus their time and energy. Um, you know that's that's a choice that we all have and I thought that I wanted to focus my time and energy on something that would make a real impact and a real difference on the future of humanity and I decided that that was either going to be in renewable energy. Or space exploration those are 2 of my passions and those are 2 of what I believe are going to be the biggest industries in the next twenty to 50 years um so with that in mind you know I started I started thinking about. You know what that could be and the way I started energyx was was kind of serendipity I found myself traveling down in Bolivia I'm an avid traveler I've been to over seventy countries and I found myself standing in Bolivia in. On the world's largest lithium reserve which is a place called solar de a uni and I didn't even know that it was a lithium reserve when I went there I was I was just traveling as a tourist but ah, it just felt like the biggest opportunity that I'd ever come across seeing with. How I believed electric vehicles were going to go. Um and I I said I have to be involved in this I don't know how I don't know what I'm going to do I don't know what my angle is but this is the biggest lithium reserve in the world and we're going to need a lot of lithium in the next twenty years that's why I started the company.
| 37:58.83 | Teague egan | Yeah, so the company is is based in Puerto Rico and then we have a research facility in Austin Texas which is where a lot of our minds go from? yeah.
| 38:08.15 | chrissass | And so you're based in Texas is that where the home front is is it because the Austin and the University or how did you end up or you just I mean it's great city live in so I don't doubt that but how do you end up having a business in texas.
| 38:24.15 | Teague egan | Yeah, puerto rico is great I honestly don't have enough good things to say about puerto rico um, it's it's been. You know I've lived there for the past 3 years and it's it's been an absolute joy. There's a lot of smart entrepreneurs moving to puerto rico.
| 38:31.83 | chrissass | So your headquarters is puerto rico so how is that gone for you because there's been in the news in the last couple years bits bumps in the road in puerto rico so is it a good place to be running a company these days.
| 38:43.41 | Teague egan | For some of the incentives that they've introduced. So. It's really a vibrant community of like-minded entrepreneurs and businessmen and then for our research facility. You know we wanted to be in austin texas which is kind of the new silicon valley if you will um. A lot of big tech companies are moving here from Apple to Facebook google oracle obviously tesla is building their new giga factory here in texas which is set to be 1 of the largest factories in the world and I believe that a lot of I believe that texas is going to transition from old energy to really the center of the universe in new energy and a lot of the ev supply chain is going to follow tesla here. Um in terms of the batteries companies like ours that are looking at the raw materials for batteries and and university of texas is. If. They're not already going to be ah the number 1 university in renewable energy studies. They already have a great program in chemical engineering and you know it used to be They're definitely the number 1 in like petroleum engineering and things like that. But that's going to transition into batteries and ev supply chain as well.
| 40:20.92 | Teague egan | Yeah.
| 40:21.56 | chrissass | So I I Love the Texas Story I Love going to South by Southwest I Love Austin It's it's It's just a fun environment and and I have a lot of colleagues that are there and I do agree with you. That energy is still centered Texas It's it's hard to be in the energy business and not have Texas flights on my frequent flyer points just just happens so where are you in the journey you started this this Vision. You told us that you were driving a tesla you you kind of had some epiphany kind of moments along the way.
| 40:39.65 | Teague egan | Yeah, so um, we've we've crossed a ah lot of exciting milestones and we are in Rapid growth mode. So you know to date. We've raised about 15 million which is.
| 40:54.66 | chrissass | Things lined up for you. You you started the company. You've funded. You got a great team where where's the company today.
| 40:59.46 | Teague egan | Given us the platform to open our own facility. We're at about 30 people on the team and we're expanding to. We're on a hiring speed spree expanding to a hundred people. Um, we're already. We've already grown out of our facility and we're looking for bigger space. We're deploying our first pilot plants into the field. Um, in q 3 so in the next month or 2 we've we've engaged with several of the top tier like tier 1 lithium producers who are our customers. We're also. Um, engaged in conversations with battery manufacturers and auto oems who are ultimately the users of lithium um, so you know right now for me I'm in. 16 to 18 hours a day work mode I didn't I didn't celebrate my birthday this year which was in july ah I'm in in the office or the laboratory on 7 days a week on weekends and and the really cool thing about that is that. My team is also here too. You know we you know 5 members of my team. We're here until midnight on Sunday working on various tasks that need to be done and that is that is the coolest thing for me as the founder and ceo to see. Passionate motivated team members that believe in the vision and believe in what we're building and believe that what we're doing is actually going to have a huge impact on the world.
| 42:56.96 | chrissass | So do you have a plan to keep the company private as long as possible so you don't have this quarterly meet. Yeah you you have wall street to meet right? So as you got this vision that you've sharing in your building it suddenly changes when you go ipo or when you get public right? You have to meet.
| 42:58.70 | Teague egan | We're actually where I actually want to go public relatively soon? Um I think that you know we've been very fortunate to have investors put believe in us and put money behind our company. Um.
| 43:15.94 | chrissass | That the wall Street's expectations
| 43:16.36 | Teague egan | And I think that going public and creating liquidity for those investors is the right thing to do um and also you know we're we're in an unprecedented time right now where I think that our economy is on the up and and ah.
| 43:21.67 | chrissass | Okay.
| 43:35.85 | Teague egan | Really doing well. The stock market is up the capital markets are open and we've seen an incredible time and where companies are going public via special purpose acquisition companies. Um, so we have. An extraordinary amount of investor interest. We've also utilized crowdfunding and we have over 3000 investors currently invested into energyx and anybody can go on our website and invest in the company. So. I think that that's a pretty cool kind of differentiation that that we have um so within the next hopefully 12 to 24 enty four months we would look at some sort of go public or liquidation event to reward our. Our early believers so you know I don't want to put any definitive timeline on that. But it's a goal of the company to go public and be traded on a large stock exchange.
| 44:49.78 | chrissass | Parts That's cool.
| 45:02.26 | chrissass | I think we have time for one last question johan from you so tell me what you're thinking.
| 45:08.42 | Johan | Well maybe not just a question but a round of um first all ah thought was really really interesting to to learn more about this It's an area that you we hear a lot about but maybe not to go a little bit deeper into this 1 but really fascinate Meig is you standing on this part of. Of south america and looking out that this is an opportunity rather than what a lot of other people would have done is creating so a charging box that looks pretty nice for your ev at home which will be the simple solution. You went for a large-s scale production site which is quite fascinating. So I love the story.
| 45:28.50 | Teague egan | Yeah, thank you I Appreciate you guys having me.
| 45:46.67 | Johan | And really appreciate it. You coming on the show.
| 45:51.51 | chrissass | Well I thank you as well. It's been fantastic. I look forward to seeing you guys go in public and and being a high flyer on the markets I'm looking forward to the technology being embraced across the industry because I think that's exciting too because otherwise I think we will have scaling issues getting the batteries. So. Thank you again for joining the show. For audience, you've spent another hour listening to insiders guide to energy if you have yet to subscribe please subscribe if you haven't watched the youtube videos feel free to watch the youtube videos and subscribe there too and we'll see you again next week
| 46:32.79 | chrissass | All right? so.