Next-Gen Battery Maker Sparkz Opens R&D and Pilot Facility for Zero Cobalt, Solid-State Batteries in Silicon Valley

The following article was published by Sparkz on January 25, 2022.


The Silicon Valley Pilot Plant will feature R&D, Scale-up and Pilot scale Manufacturing of Sparkz All Solid State Batteries; California Energy Commission support vital to decision

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—Next-generation battery maker Sparkz Inc., will bring jobs and eventually manufacturing to northern California as it announced today it is opening a pilot facility in Livermore, CA to begin development, scale-up and pilot-scale manufacturing of its patented solid state battery technology. The company’s move was spurred by continued support from the California Energy Commission as Sparkz begins the steps to shift a second product line from development to commercialization.

“Sparkz is re-engineering the battery supply chain by eliminating cobalt and setting our sights on making other EV battery components in America. Our pilot production facility in Livermore is the first, exciting step towards advancing the development and scale-up of our solid state battery technology,” said founder and CEO Sanjiv Malhotra.  “The California Energy Commission’s funding and continued support of Sparkz was an important step towards securing this facility. The CEC understands that to challenge China’s domination of next-gen battery production, and reach America’s clean energy potential, we need to build sustainable battery facilities in the U.S. Sparkz is quickly approaching this goal and putting Americans to work.”

Last year, Sparkz won a prestigious grant for $2.6 million from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to extend its development into solid state batteries. CEC funded the full amount possible for the first phase of the grant and will help Sparkz bridge the gap from their previous public funding awards to private investment.

The California facility will be its first pilot manufacturing plant in the U.S. as Sparkz begins expansion. Sparkz is also exploring plants in the Appalachia to begin manufacturing its zero cobalt, lithium ion batteries for OEM partners.  The company has the exclusive licenses to produce zero cobalt, lithium batteries and is committed to producing them in the U.S.

Sparkz already has an  R&D and Innovation Center in Knoxville, TN where it is conducting development and scale-up of lithium batteries based on zero Cobalt cathodes.

About Sparkz:

Founded by industry veteran and former U.S. Department of Energy executive Sanjiv Malhotra, Sparkz will begin commercialization of a high energy-density zero cobalt, American-made lithium-ion battery, while continuing its groundbreaking research and development focused on re-engineering the rest of the battery supply chain. Sparkz zero cobalt battery offers 2X the energy density compared to other zero cobalt batteries (LFP) being produced predominantly in China.

The company’s first commercial product will eliminate cobalt, traditionally used in the cathode of a lithium battery, with the objective of reducing the cost of lithium battery production in the U.S., while also eliminating a primary environmental concern, and reducing chokepoints created by a foreign supply-chain. Sparkz will be announcing its customer and OEM partnerships in the near future.

Sparkz was founded in late 2019. Sparkz has completed the transfer of 6 patents from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which continues to be an R&D partner.

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.