Battery Startup chooses a former glass factory for its first factory

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A Californian energy tech startup has officially named the location of its first battery factory.

Sparkz, a developer of lithium-ion batteries produced without cobalt, first announced plans to establish a production facility in West Virginia earlier this year. The Associated Press reports that the final location will be a 482,000 square foot building near Bridgeport, West Virginia. The site once housed an AGC flat glass production plant which closed in 2009.

Sparkz founder and CEO Sanjiv Malhotra, a former director of investments at the U.S. Department of Energy, said the plant was an optimal location to “reshape battery supply to end China’s dominance. in energy storage.

Sparkz was founded in 2019 and was awarded six patents from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to make cobalt-free batteries, which would eliminate the need for battery markers to source the metal from mines across the country. Democratic Republic of Congo – mainly controlled by Chinese. companies.

The West Virginia plant is expected to create 350 jobs, and Sparkz has reached an agreement with the United Mine Workers of America union to retrain former struggling coal workers from the state to staff the facility. Malhotra said the hiring of coal families would start “today”.

The facility’s first batteries will likely be used in agricultural equipment, material handling vehicles and energy storage systems. Once certified, it will be able to produce batteries for electric vehicles.

Image Credit: Roman Zaiets / Shutterstock.com

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