Critical Material Supply from Nontraditional Sources

NUMiX Materials develops, produces, and deploys efficient, geomimetic materials for harvesting critical metals from nontraditional sources. Its products and process recover salable metals while purifying water, eliminating contamination, and reducing water treatment waste.


Critical Need for the Technology

In water, mobile metal ions like copper, silver, cobalt, and nickel cause damage to human health and the environment. In industrial processes involving these ions, significant waste is generated while treating water to remove them prior to discharge.

Meanwhile electronics, electric vehicles, and batteries rely on these same metals as raw materials. The United States rely on imports of the same metals for production of these technologies; in fact, several have been placed on the ‘critical minerals’ list because of the high import reliance and high domestic need.

Harvesting these metals from nontraditional sources satisfies two important needs simultaneously. First, it establishes a domestic supply of currently-imported critical minerals. Second, it remediates problematic water streams more quickly and with less residual waste than competing processes.

Potential CO2 Reduction

Emissions from mining cobalt, copper, and nickel total over 100 MtCO2e of emissions each year. Recovering and recycling of metals causes lower emissions than mining fresh material, and significant amounts of material is present in existing industrial wastewater. Using NUMiX’s technology to recover and reuse this metal could reduce 1-10 MtCO2e annually.


  • Ion exchange beads: established firms such as DuPont, Purolite, Rohm & Hass, as well as early stage companies such as Periodic Products provide polymer-based ion exchange for use in columns with regeneration.
  • Adsorbents: established firms such as Lanxess provide adsorbents like granular ferric oxide and zero valent iron.
  • Do nothing: in some geographies, the incumbent approach is to avoid treating metal-bearing water at all.

Potential Markets

Treatment market: mining, leach liquor purification, primary metal treatment (pickling), electroplating, semiconductor manufacturing, battery recycling, hazardous site remediation, water reuse.

Raw material markets: batteries, high-temperature alloys, jewelry, electric vehicles, semiconductor manufacturing.

Key Innovation

NUMiX Materials harvests critical minerals from contaminated water using geomimetic sorbents.

R & D Status of Project

NUMiX Materials has developed proprietary materials and is actively seeking commercial opportunities to deploy the technology in a pilot setting as it continues to scale up production capabilities.

Team Overview

Katie Kollhoff, CEO

The diverse NUMiX Materials team, including Kollhoff, consists of five individuals with skills in business strategy, operations, and engineering with backgrounds in water treatment, environmental health and safety, chemical and mechanical engineering, materials science and law.

Technology Profile

Status: TRL 4 – The technology has been demonstrated in laboratory scale.
Primary industry: Water & Mining
Category:  sustainability, critical minerals, water, supply chain

Estimated annual revenue: N/A
Employs: 2.5
Social challenge:  clean water, domestic critical minerals
R&D commercial collaborator: N/A