Battery manufacturer Sparkz has announced that it will begin construction in 2022 of a gigafactory in West Virginia, which will initially employ 350 workers, to commercialize its zero-cobalt battery.
Sparkz founder and CEO Sanjiv Malhotra made the announcement at a ceremony in the state capital, Charleston, which was attended by a very diverse group of policymakers, including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, and Senator Joe Manchin, a bête noire for climate activists who received more money from the fossil fuel industries than any other US senator in the most recent election cycle.
Sparkz says it will focus on “creating a strong and diverse workforce capable of competing against foreign batteries made in China and securing the supply chain.” The company will partner with the United Mine Workers of America to recruit and train dislocated miners to be the first group of production workers hired at its new facility. Malhotra says the company “will invest significant resources in workforce development and training for…West Virginians transitioning into the new energy economy.”
“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,” said Malhotra. “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. America’s clean energy future will reach its potential when we innovate and manufacture the next generation of energy storage domestically.”