TDK Ventures invests in pH7 Technologies for clean extraction and recycling of critical metals

28 March 2023

TDK Corporation  announced today that subsidiary TDK Ventures Inc., its corporate venture-capital arm, is investing in sustainable metal extraction innovator pH7 Technologies and co-leading their Series A financing round. The unique chemical process developed by pH7 has the potential to change the metal extraction from mining and recycling resources through their sustainable and environmentally friendly approach. This closed-loop metal extraction process could potentially empower the metal transition necessary to usher in next generation global electrification. This investment reflects TDK Ventures' commitment to supporting innovative solutions that can help address the global energy transformation by transforming the metal supply chain.

The demand for key metals and minerals – ranging from copper, platinum, and cobalt, to silicon, lanthanum, and neodymium, among others – are critical and often pervasive across the suite of modern technologies driving ever accelerating clean energy transition. Demands for these key materials are projected to skyrocket in upcoming years. There is an expected increase of as much as 500% in consumption across selected materials. Projected deficits already indicate a shortfall, with respect to market demand, expected to reach as low as -17% (copper),
-17% (platinum), and even -47% (neodymium) by 2030. Global industries are seeking ways to address these shortfalls and mitigate risk. However, the process to acquire and extract these metals/minerals are often environmentally detrimental, possess limited scalability, and are complicated by dynamic geopolitical issues due to unequal global distribution.

pH7 Technologies developed a proprietary metal-extraction process utilizing non-toxic organic and inorganic chemistry, as well as electrochemistry to drive extraction of metals and key minerals from ores, concentrates and end-of-life materials. This innovative approach reduces the environmental impact of the mining and mineral processes and enables efficient metal extraction from low-grade resources or difficult substrates which are uneconomical or infeasible by current pyrometallurgy or hydrometallurgy approaches.

"TDK Ventures will support pH7 Technologies in their mission to create a more sustainable and efficient metal-extraction process," said Nicolas Sauvage, President of TDK Ventures. "Environmentally-friendly metal extraction is a huge win for sustainability, as the process has demonstrated a net 95% reduction in CO2 emission, 95% increase in energy efficiency, absolutely no toxic emissions, and near-zero water consumption compared against current industry standards."

"pH7 Technologies has created a path forward for key metals extraction and refining that will enable the transition to renewable energy in a much more sustainable way," said Sarah Applebaum, Partner with Pangaea Ventures. "We share pH7's passion to create a more habitable and sustainable planet for future generations and are excited to be a part of this project."

"Our team is thrilled to have the support of our co-lead investors, TDK Ventures and Pangaea Ventures, as well as other new investors like Rhapsody Ventures, Collaborative Fund, FM Capital, and BASF Venture Capital, who will work with us to scale our sustainable metal-extraction process," said Mohammad Doostmohammadi, CEO of pH7 Technologies. "We are committed to developing environmentally responsible solutions that address the challenges in the metal supply chain, and we believe that our technology can help accelerate the global transition to a more sustainable energy future."

pH7 Technologies' chemical process is gaining traction within industry OEMs, metal refiners, and suppliers due to its inherently scalable, high yield, and faster-than-acid-based solution. The new metal extraction process represents a practical solution to an industry pervasive problem while simultaneously creating a low-cost solution, with high environmental consideration, and a demonstrated technical maturity.

By investing in pH7 Technologies, TDK Ventures contributes to a more sustainable metal supply chain that can support global energy transformation. The investment also reflects TDK Ventures' focus on investing in technologies that can have a positive impact on the environment and society.