The following article was published by Sparkz on March 18, 2022.



Sparkz will begin workforce development partnership with United Mine Workers of America this year, break ground on GigaFactory in 2022 to compete against China


CHARLESTON, W.Va.–Sparkz, the next-generation battery manufacturer re-engineering the battery supply chain, announced today it will begin construction in 2022 of a Gigafactory in West Virginia to commercialize their zero-cobalt battery which will initially employ 350 workers.


“Sparkz is re-engineering the battery supply chain by eliminating cobalt and setting our sights on making other battery components in America to end China’s dominance. The Biden Administration’s efforts to support economic revitalization in energy communities is extremely important for workers and job creators like us as we scale to full commercial production,” said founder and CEO Sanjiv Malhotra.  “America’s clean energy future will reach its potential when we innovate and manufacture the next generation of energy storage domestically. We will invest significant resources in workforce development and training for West Virginians, partnering with the United Mine Workers of America to train those West Virgnians transitioning into the new energy economy.”


Malhotra made the announcement in Charleston renewing the company’s pledge at a White House meeting in December 2021. At that meeting with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, and Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin, Malhotra committed to “setting our sights on making other EV battery components super localized in Appalachia and other locations in the U.S.”


Granholm, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Chairwoman Manchin and Senator Joe Manchin attended today’s announcement in Charleston.


Sparkz will be focused on creating a strong and diverse workforce capable of competing against foreign batteries made in China and securing the supply chain. Sparkz and the United Mine Workers of America will partner to recruit and train dislocated miners to be the first group of production workers to be hired into the facility. This program is a key part of the UMWA’s Energy Transition Principles announced last spring.

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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.