SQM Lithium Ventures invests in Salinity Solutions

UK engineering tech start-up Salinity Solutions has secured a £1 million initial investment from SQM Lithium Ventures to fund the next stage of its growth.

Brine pools for lithium mining.
Brine pools for lithium mining. - Image © Cavan - Adobe Stock.

SQM Lithium Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of the lithium business of Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM), will take ownership of a minority stake in Salinity Solutions, with the option to acquire additional equity in the future.

Salinity Solutions has developed HyBatch, a ground-breaking batch reverse osmosis water treatment technology that uses less energy, purifies a higher amount of wastewater, generates less waste, and is more compact and portable than traditional RO systems. The first of Salinity Solutions’ five registered patents has been approved in the European Union, China and the US.

Since launching in 2021, Salinity Solutions has completed trials in multiple industries, including lithium mining, industrial and municipal wastewater, and food production. The company says it has built a strong sales pipeline across multiple sectors and geographies.

“SQM’s investment will help us accelerate Salinity’s growth and achieve our 2024 goals of increasing unit sales and securing our first licencing agreement,” said Salinity Solutions’ CEO Richard Bruges. “Their strategic interests in lithium and water, combined with their geographical reach from Chile to China, offer a perfect fit to support our ambitious growth plans.”

Angeles Romo, Director of SQM Lithium Ventures, commented: “SQM Lithium Ventures is investing in Salinity Solutions in hopes that the company, through its revolutionary technology, will be capable of scaling and making an impact across different industries and geographies. This marks our first investment in water, one of our core focus areas for investment along with lithium and electromobility.”

Salinity Solutions was formed as a spin-off from the University of Birmingham in 2021, following 10 years of research and development at Aston University and University of Birmingham under the supervision of Professor Philip Davies. Founder Tim Naughton secured an Innovate UK iCURE grant and seed investment from Clean Engineering, followed by two oversubscribed crowdfunding campaigns on Crowdcube. Existing investors, including the University of Birmingham, have added to this investment round over the last six months, investing over £960,000 alongside SQM, providing a total of £1.96 million in new funding for the company.