at the helm

New CEO named to batteries co., to build out direct lithium extraction operations globally

International Battery Metals announced the appointment of Iris Jancik as CEO. Photo via IBAT

A Houston- and Vancouver-based battery materials company has named a new CEO, effective later this summer.

International Battery Metals (IBAT) announced the appointment of Iris Jancik as CEO. She will focus on expanding commercial deployment of IBAT's patented modular direct lithium extraction (DLE) plants, and begin in the role in mid-August.

Currently, IBAT is commissioning the DLE plant with an initial design capacity of 5,000 metric tons a year. The plant expects to begin lithium production in June. The plant will process brine produced from lithium-containing waste-magnesium salts, and the lithium chloride product will provide feed for high-purity lithium carbonate production by US Mag.

The plant is the first commercial DLE plant in North America and the first modular DLE plant in the world. IBAT also recently announced the installation of its first commercial lithium production plant, which is co-located at US Magnesium's (US Mag) operations outside Salt Lake City, Utah.

Jancik served as CEO of IDE Americas, a subsidiary of IDE Technologies, which is a global desalination and water treatment solutions company prior to joining IBAT. She holds an M.B.A. in international business from Texas A&M University, and brings expertise as an engineer with extensive global contracting and management experience.

"Iris brings deep expertise in water infrastructure, which is core to our DLE water-recycling process, and the requisite global commercial chops to build on IBAT's momentum," John Burba, CTO and director of International Battery Metals, says in a news release. "I expect IBAT to take on new frontiers for growth with Iris at the helm and look forward to collaborating with her."

Jancik will be taking over for the person credited with accelerating IBAT's technology to its first commercial phase , Garry Flowers, who joined IBAT for a two-year period, starting as president in July 2022 and then named CEO in December 2022.

According to IBAT, IBAT's modular lithium extraction plant has been independently verified to extract more than 97% lithium from brine. Lithium production is rising to reach approximately 180,000 metric tons in 2023 with approximately 22,000 metric tons coming from an established DLE project in Argentina.

"IBAT's proprietary commercialized DLE technology is proven, ready to push-start a US lithium industry, and revolutionize global production, making this a prime time to join the organization," Jancik adds. "Burgeoning battery demand requires a wholesale change in how lithium is produced, and IBAT delivers the right combination of efficiency, sustainability and scalability to reach new heights.”

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A View From HETI

Nádia Skorupa Parachin joined Cemvita as vice president of industrial biotechnology. Photo courtesy of Cemvita

Houston-based biotech company Cemvita recently tapped two executives to help commercialize its sustainable fuel made from carbon waste.

Nádia Skorupa Parachin came aboard as vice president of industrial biotechnology, and Phil Garcia was promoted to vice president of commercialization.

Parachin most recently oversaw several projects at Boston-based biotech company Ginkjo Bioworks. She previously co-founded Brazilian biotech startup Integra Bioprocessos.

Parachin will lead the Cemvita team that’s developing technology for production of bio-manufactured oil.

“It’s a fantastic moment, as we’re poised to take our prototyping to the next level, and all under the innovative direction of our co-founder Tara Karimi,” Parachin says in a news release. “We will be bringing something truly remarkable to market and ensuring it’s cost-effective.”

Moji Karimi, co-founder and CEO of Cemvita, says the hiring of Parachin represents “the natural next step” toward commercializing the startup’s carbon-to-oil process.

“Her background prepared her to bring the best out of the scientists at the inflection point of commercialization — really bringing things to life,” says Moji Karimi, Tara’s brother.

Parachin joins Garcia on Cemvita’s executive team.

Before being promoted to vice president of commercialization, Garcia was the startup’s commercial director and business development manager. He has a background in engineering and business development.

Founded in 2017, Cemvita recently announced a breakthrough that enables production of large quantities of oil derived from carbon waste.

In 2023, United Airlines agreed to buy up to one billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from Cemvita’s first full-scale plant over the course of 20 years.

Cemvita’s investors include the UAV Sustainable Flight Fund, an investment arm of Chicago-based United; Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, an investment arm of Houston-based energy company Occidental Petroleum; and Japanese equipment and machinery manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

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