Climate Tech Finance Program Awards Sparkz Loan Guarantee

The following article was published by on June 21, 2023.


Air District’s Climate Tech Finance program funds next-gen battery maker in California to propel the clean energy transition

SAN FRANCISCO – The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has awarded a loan guarantee to SPARKZ, a next-generation battery manufacturer re-engineering the battery supply chain in the United States.

The company’s energy storage solution reduces the cost of domestic lithium battery production by eliminating the cobalt and nickel traditionally used in their manufacturing. The pioneering process developed by SPARKZ would lower the cost of lithium-ion batteries, remove environmental concerns around mining cobalt, and reduce constrictions created by a foreign supply chain.

“Public-private partnerships are key to accelerate the development of much-needed climate technologies, support the clean energy transition and meet our climate goals,” said Dr. Philip Fine, executive officer of the Air District. “We are proud to partner with a true innovator that is paving the way to our clean energy and manufacturing future.”

“California is home to the fastest growing climate tech manufacturing industry in the country and for SPARKZ, California is our home.  As we look to expand our manufacturing footprint to re-engineer the battery supply chain domestically, California will be our main focus because of Governor Newsom’s efforts to promote electrification,” said founder and CEO Sanjiv Malhotra. “The support of the Air District, California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank and the Northern California Financial Development Corporation will allow our company the ability to hire Californians, expand our manufacturing facilities and play a role in solving the climate crisis.”

This loan guarantee is the most recent project under the Air District’s Climate Tech Finance program. In partnership with the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank and the Northern California Financial Development Corporation, the Climate Tech Finance team led a technology qualification, social equity impact and greenhouse gas analysis that deemed SPARKZ eligible for a multimillion-dollar loan guarantee. This loan guarantee supported SPARKZ in securing a line of credit with East West Bank.

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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.