Major Battery Manufacturer Sparkz Could Bring Hundreds of Jobs to North Central West Virginia

The following interview and article were published by WDTV News Staff on April 14, 2022.


Morgantown, W.Va (WDTV) – A next-generation battery manufacturer is expanding to West Virginia.

Sparkz is set to build what it calls a ‘giga-factory,’ where it will produce zero-cobalt batteries.

5 News spoke exclusively with Sparkz CEO Sanjiv Malhotra, who told us the facility will bring hundreds of jobs.

“One gigawatt hour production capacity for batteries requires roughly 350 to 400 jobs,” says Malhotra, “If we are looking at multiple of those, I think we are looking at creating quite a lot of jobs in West Virginia.”

Many of those jobs are going to people who lost their jobs as miners, as Sparkz is partnering with the United Mine Workers of America.

It’s the skills those people developed in coal mines that Malhotra says makes them well-suited for battery production.

“Battery manufacturing requires a lot of safety training. The mine workers are possibly in the only industry that comes close to the kind of safety training we would be providing,” says Malhotra.

It’s been well documented that Sparkz is coming to West Virginia, with Malhotra announcing the move in Charleston earlier this year.

The big question is: where exactly? Morgantown has been rumored to be a possible landing spot. 5 News asked directly if the city was in the running.

“Look, I think we are considering the entire state, so just stay tuned. This process takes time because this process involves not only us, but it involves folks from the state,” Malhotra said.

While he wouldn’t reveal the location, Malhotra says Morgantown is an attractive option.

“I’ve been to Morgantown I believe twice now,” Malhotra said, “I really love the city, so that’s all I can say. I like Morgantown, but we have to consider a lot of other aspects of manufacturing.”

With the hiring process already underway, a location is expected to be announced soon.

Watch Full Interview Here >

Copyright © Sparkz Inc. 2023

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.