Sparkz Resource

ORNL Receives Three 2021 FLC Awards for Technology Transfer

The following article was published by News Wise on February 3, 2021.


Building Sustainability with Cobalt-Free Battery Technologies, developed by ORNL and licensed to Sparkz.

ORNL researchers developed a suite of technologies designed to eliminate the rare and costly cobalt metal found in the cathodes of lithium-ion batteries that are used to power portable electronic devices and electric vehicles. ORNL’s technologies provide cobalt-free alternatives without sacrificing battery performance.

The technologies licensed by energy storage startup Sparkz include high-energy density secondary lithium batteries; cobalt-free layered oxide cathodes; nonaqueous electrolyte formulation for faster charging; early transition metals for use in cathodes; and battery materials scaled up utilizing novel chemical processes. Each technology is designed to overcome existing limitations on energy density and help electric vehicles charge more efficiently. Achieving this goal could also aid energy storage in grid applications.”

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Founder & CEO

Dr. Sanjiv Malhotra

Dr. Sanjiv Malhotra is the founder and CEO of Sparkz—the battery start-up reinventing the energy supply chain.


Malhotra has been a leader in the energy sector for nearly three decades as a founder, investor and executive. Most recently, he served as the inaugural director for the Energy Investor Center at the U.S Department of Energy (DOE), serving under both Democratic and Republican administrations.


At DOE, Malhotra led the Obama Administration’s initiative to boost public-private partnerships to accelerate the commercialization of technologies developed in national research centers like Oak Ridge National Labs.


Malhotra was recruited to the Department of Energy after a successful exit of Oorja Protonics—the world leader in methanol fuel cells—which he founded and led as CEO for 10 years. Oorja raised $50 Million in equity financing from leading VCs such as Sequoia, DAG Ventures, Artis Capital and others during his tenure. He boosted Oorja’s revenue and profitability growth, while expanding operations globally in Japan, China, South Africa, Mexico, and India.


Oorja was acquired in 2014 by the Private Equity firm MinXing Growth Fund.


As an investor and consultant, Malhotra has worked at leading venture capital firms, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers as an advisor on clean energy and advanced materials.


Earlier in his career, Malhotra led the engineering and product development team at H Power, a pioneer in hydrogen fuel cells. As part of the management team, he managed the successful IPO, which raised more than $100 million in August 2000.


He began his career as a post-doctoral fellow at the renowned Lawrence Berkeley National Labs on electrochemical storage systems. Dr. Malhotra has authored seven patents and more than 40 publications in various fields of energy storage technology and materials. He holds a PhD in chemical engineering and an M.B.A from University of Iowa.