On February 1, 2024, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) announced seven awards (totaling $192.5 million) through the Defense Production Act Investments (DPAI) Program to establish domestic manufacturing capabilities for critical chemicals. As part of these investments, the DOD formed a $28 million public-private partnership with Magrathea, a company developing innovative technology for the production of carbon neutral light metal from seawater and brine.
The DOD’s capital contribution from the Defense Production Act Title III program will accelerate the scale-up of Magrathea’s technology to a full-scale demonstration plant. The project will bring new primary magnesium metal supply back to the U.S. for the first time in 40 years and is the U.S. government’s first major investment in magnesium since World War II. The project will create 40 jobs by 2025 and hundreds of jobs will be created at Magrathea’s first commercial smelter.
“We are delighted to partner with the DOD to rebuild the magnesium supply base cleaner, faster, and lower cost than ever before,” said Alex Grant, CEO of Magrathea. “This partnership will accelerate delivery of our high purity, carbon neutral light metal products to several critical markets. Aluminum, automotive, and other users who rely on this metal now know that they can depend on Magrathea to deliver with DOD backing.”
Magnesium is the “gateway metal” used in the production of all other structural metals. It is crucial for desulfurization in steelmaking, it is essential in almost all aluminum alloys, it is used to make titanium which is critical for aerospace, and it is consumed in production of several other important materials. Magnesium supply underpins trillions of dollars of trade and national security is impossible without it.
“This grant affirms Magrathea’s lead as the fastest moving, most prospective developer of new light metal supply. We have never seen a company advance this quickly towards such a major government partnership with so much traction and validation,” said Dipender Saluja, managing partner of Capricorn Investment Group’s Technology Impact Fund. Capricorn is a Palo Alto, California based technology investment firm with $9 billion of assets under management and co-lead of Magrathea’s seed round.
The DOD’s announcement can be found here.