On Wednesday, Dallas-based portfolio company Freestone announced it will invest $20 million in Momentum Technologies, a Dallas company focused on recycling lithium-ion batteries and other rare earth metals.
Momentum installs and operates recycling plants that use patented recycling technology — called Membrane Solvent Extraction (MSX) — to remove metals from electronics and repurpose them. According to the company, the process reduces electronic waste.
The company was founded in 2016 by Preston Bryant, who was named in the 2021 Forbes 30 under 30.
“We are pleased to partner with Freestone as we scale our business and bring our state-of-the-art process to the broader market. Their significant experience in the recycling and energy infrastructure verticals will serve as a great resource for the company and will position us for long-term success,” Bryant, CEO of Momentum, said in a statement. “... We are now ready to deploy [MSX] at a commercial scale. This partnership will provide valuable financial and operational support as we enter an important new chapter of growth.”
The investment will be used to fund the construction of Momentum’s first two battery recycling plants that will be operational in 2022, according to the company. These funds will also be used to build out additional recycling facilities in the future.
MSX was created by Momentum in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Over the last few years, Momentum worked with Oak Ridge to perfect the technology, Bryant said.
The technology has uses in EV manufacturing because the main power source in most EVs is lithium ion-based. However, in recent months there has been a shortage of batteries in the U.S. due to supply chain issues. Demand has been extremely high for batteries and supply dwindled so low that the U.S. Department of Energy released a national blueprint to build several lithium-battery facilities in the U.S.
“We understand the importance of investing across the entire energy opportunity set, and Momentum provides an attractive growth infrastructure investment in two of our core areas of expertise — feedstock processing and material recycling,” said David Cecere, Partner at Tailwater Capital, the parent company of Freestone. “The exponential growth in electric vehicles will require innovative solutions in order to alleviate battery supply chain constraints while also addressing these issues in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Momentum’s MSX process checks both of these boxes and we are excited to enter into this partnership.”
Tailwater Capital is a private equity firm focused on energy and infrastructure.