- Funding to Date*
Reducing our vulnerability to disruptions in our supply of critical metals is important for national security, but the current methods used to mine and extract metals are too toxic, too energy intensive, and damage communities and the environment around the world. MetalX Biocycle is using synthetic biology to extract, concentrate, and purify rare earth metals found in magnets using a process already found in nature.
Their method is already low-cost, more efficient than traditional extraction methods, and requires no additional energy. Even more value-add will come from the separation, not the extraction: The ability to separate dysprosium from neodymium and praseodymium could fetch five times as much value as the mixture of the three. Their biological approach will be able to separate these metals with solutions no more acidic than lemon juice. MetalX’s opening salvo is to extract and separate the $16 billion worth of rare earth elements from electronic waste and electric vehicle magnets.