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ETN Rising Stars of Emerging Tech 2022

ETN commemorates the World Energy Storage Day (September 22) with a special section dedicated to the visionaries and promoters of energy storage globally. Meet the 2022 'Rising Stars', or promising names spearheading the development and deployment of energy storage globally.  

Aviv Tzidon is the Chairman and founder of Phinergy, a company that develops an assortment of zero-emission batteries, including aluminum-air and zinc-air batteries designed as power sources for electric cars.

Tzidon's vision goes beyond EVs and disrupting the traditional production processes. He was also co-founder and Board Member of Eviation Aircraft Ltd – an Israel-based aviation company, which is developing a fully-electric passenger plane, unveiled at the 2019 Paris Air Show. Eviation has now been acquired by the Singapore-based Clermont Group and will now be a part of its Aerospace division.

Phinergy has also tied up with Indian Oil Corporation to deploy aluminum-air technology in India, using aluminum as a clean and sustainable source of energy. Tzidon next plans to establish a similar partnership in Europe, and also build a manufacturing facility in Israel. 

As a young startup entrepreneur, Bhavish Aggarwal co-founded Ola Cabs in 2010 with Ankit Bhati, a fellow alumnus from IIT Mumbai. The cab aggregation platform transformed the taxi market in India, thanks to Bhavish's innovation and strident business skills, which also took him to Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2018 list.

In 2021, he began his next 'big' mission – building the world's largest two-wheeler 'futurefactory' with 10 million units annual capacity spread across 500 acres. His company Ola Electric commercially launched its e-scooters last year, which turned out to be an instant hit in the Indian E2W market.

Ola also has plans to bring in an electric car into the market by 2024. The company is reprioritizing its strategies and charting its own roadmap to become the largest EV company in its targeted segments, both in domestic and export markets.

Carlos Tavares is the Executive Director and CEO of Stellantis, the sixth-largest automaker worldwide, formed by the cross-border merger of the PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

With his deep understanding of market dynamics, the merged company is all set to take on e-mobility and expand its presence globally. Stellantis has a presence in more than 130 countries with manufacturing facilities in 30 countries. It has two vehicle plants in India apart from a powertrain unit and R&D centres, and plans to launch a hatchback Citroen brand, an SUV, and an MPV in the country, in the next three years.

Tavares was formerly CEO of PSA Group, and the COO at Renault. He also serves as a director of Airbus Holding S.A., and is a member of the board of directors of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA). 

Denis Sverdlov founded the EV startup Arrival in 2015 in UK, as an innovative manufacturer of lightweight, zero-emission commercial vans at a competitive price for global markets. The company also has plans to make battery-electric buses and cars in future. Born in Soviet-era Georgia, Sverdlov was a co-founder and CEO of Russian mobile broadband company 'Yota', and served as Russia's Deputy Minister of Communications until 2012.

Arrival has developed EV platforms that can be scaled to make many variants in multiple vehicle categories depending on the individual needs of the markets. Denis is known for his company's decentralized method of EV making, with a low-footprint 'microfactories' approach using cell-based robotic assembly instead of a traditional automotive production line and local-circular supply chain. 

Doug Campbell is the CEO and co-founder of Solid Power, a Colorado-based company that develops all solid-state, high-energy and safe, rechargeable batteries for the electric vehicle market. He established the company as a spin-out business of the University of Colorado Boulder in 2012 and has been instrumental in establishing the company's strategy of focusing on rapid product development with follow-on iterations toward meeting customer requirements.

Campbell is a startup veteran with nearly 20 years of experience in hardware-based new technology developments in the markets of energy storage, aerospace and defense. Along with Solid Power, he co-founded and led Roccor, an industry leader in small satellite components including solar arrays, antennas, boom systems and thermal management systems. Roccor was acquired by Redwire Space in 2020, while Solid Power recently became a publicly traded company.

Eric Hsieh is the Director for Grid Systems and Components in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). As a part of the Office of Electricity's Advanced Grid R&D division, this group delivers grid modernization through technology innovation. His group supports R&D for new grid hardware technologies, including energy storage, power electronics, transformers, conductors and robotics.

Hsieh also co-leads the crosscutting Energy Storage Grand Challenge and Long Duration Storage Energy Earthshot. He has been associated with DOE for the past seven years. Prior to that, he held positions at Nexans, A123 Systems, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). He has received degrees in Public Policy from UC Berkeley and Computer Science from MIT.

Ermanno Vitali is the CEO of Yixing FAAM Industrial Batteries, the Chinese branch of battery manufacturer FAAM. Controlled by Italian company Seri Industrial Spa, FAAM has plants in Italy and China, producing and recycling lead-acid and lithium batteries for traction, industrial, storage, and military applications.

The company plans to launch new business lines with particular reference to lithium-ion batteries with capacities of 300 MWh and 2.5-3 GWh. Vitali is sole in-charge and responsible for developing, implementing and controlling the overall business plan, organization standards, lean manufacturing techniques, quality, cost reduction, complete and on-time delivery, safety, developing key performance indicators and both immediate and long-term strategic goals. 

Billionaire Gautam Adani is the CEO & MD of Adani Green Energy Ltd. It is considered as one of the largest renewable companies in India, with a current project portfolio of 20,434 MW. The company plans to invest $70 billion in clean energy and will act as a facilitator for India's green energy transition.

The investment includes an ambitious target of 45GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030, and an investment of $20 billion to develop a 2GW per year solar manufacturing capacity by 2022-23. It has partnered with TotalEnergies to create the world's largest green hydrogen ecosystem with an investment of $50 billion, largest commitment to green hydrogen in India.

Gene Berdichevsky is the Co-founder and CEO of Sila Nanotechnologies, a materials technology company based in Alameda, CA, with a mission to commercialize the next generation of battery chemistry. The company is working towards replacing the graphite in the anode of a Li-ion cell with silicon, which it claims makes for a denser, cheaper battery cell.

Prior to co-founding Sila, Gene worked at Tesla Motors where he served as Principal Engineer on the Roadster battery, leading the development of the world's first, safe, mass-produced, automotive Li-ion battery system.

Gene holds two degrees from Stanford University - an MS in Engineering with a focus on energy and materials, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering. He has co-authored 42 patents and 4 academic publications. 

Jagdeep Singh is the CEO and Founder of the energy storage American startup company QuantumScape Corp. that develops solid-state lithium metal batteries for electric cars. Founded in 2010, the company is backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and auto giant Volkswagen.

The Company's batteries are designed to enable longer range, faster charging and enhanced safety in EVsSingh was is a founder of several companies, including Lightera Networks, AirSoft, etc. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland College Park, an M.B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University. 

Jane Hunter joined Tritium in 2019 as COO and Deputy CEO. She was appointed as Tritium's CEO in March 2020. Headquartered in Australia, the company provides EV fast-charging solutions.

Formerly with Boeing Phantom Works, Hunter has extensive experience in operations, projects, and commercial management across multiple industries including aerospace, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), gaming, and entertainment. She is expected to help maximise Tritium's global supply chain, manufacturing, distribution and support operations.

Earlier this year, US President Biden welcomed Hunter into the White House to announce an order for 10,000 Tritium EV fast chargers – the first step in a new multibillion dollar plan to electrify America's roads.

Hunter has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Queensland and is a qualified barrister. 

Jessica Lin is the Principal Product Manager at Amazon Alexa Smart Energy. Her role is to define how to leverage Amazon's new smart thermostat and the Alexa device, to control energy use in homes and to define a strategy for how the org can meet its Climate Pledge commitments.

Earlier, she was the Group Product manager of Data Engineering at Oracle Utilities. She has also served as a Senior Fellow to the U.S. Department of Energy in the Office of Policy to support Mission Innovation. Before that she led international clean energy deployment efforts with the World Bank Group, primarily focused on what role the Bank could play to commercialize clean energy technologies.

She started her career in the private sector, working in finance and strategic management consulting, before leading a wireless mesh technology social enterprise startup. She received her Master's in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School and her Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science from MIT.

Dr. Kai-Philipp Kairies is the CEO & Co-Founder of ACCURE Battery Intelligence GmbH, set up in 2020. It is a research-lead startup that supports companies in improving their batteries safety and longevity using advanced data analytics.

He is a scientist and entrepreneur focusing on innovative storage solutions, and has worked as a battery researcher and consultant in Germany, Singapore, and California. ACCURE won the SET Award 2021 in the category 'Energy Distribution and Storage', and this year Kairies was also selected 'Vordenker 2022' (Pioneer or Visionary) by Germany's largest business journal Handelsblatt and Boston Consulting Group (BCG). He is responsible for the scientific evaluation of the federal funding program for PV Battery Systems implemented by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi). His work focusses on grid integration of renewable energies and decentralized storage systems.

Jun Kim is President and CEO at SK Innovation Co. Ltd, a company that produces petrochemical products, and has expanded its green portfolio through continuous investment in the battery and materials sectors. Under Kim's leadership, the company is focussing on its battery business and expanding into the global market by developing proprietary technology.

SK Innovation supplies electric car batteries to carmakers like Ford Motor, Volkswagen, and Hyundai Motor. It has battery production sites in the United States, Hungary, China, and South Korea, and is planning to invest in a new battery factory in China. The company recently decided to spin off its battery business into a new company called SK On, launched in October 2021.

Lars Carlstrom is the founder and CEO of Italian battery startup Italvolt. Early this year he also launched Statevolt, which will construct a 54GWh giga factory in Imperial Valley, southern California.

An entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience in the automotive sector, Carlstrom started Italvolt in 2021 with an aim to build the largest giga factory in Europe and one of the largest in the world in terms of size and production capacity.

Before Italvolt & Statevolt, Carlstrom founded Britishvolt in 2019 and held the position of CEO till 2021. An automotive veteran, he began his career in 1992 as founder of V2H Supercast AB. In 2002, he was appointed as Director, EVOX Real Estate. He joined Convers Group as Director in 2010. 

Mukesh Ambani is the Chairman and MD of Reliance Industries, with interests in key sectors of India from petrochemicals, gas and oil to retail. But a pivotal development in recent times is his grand entry into the green energy space, with a 15-year vision plan to transform Reliance into a leading new energy and new materials company in India and at global level.

Reliance has set an ambitious target of achieving net-zero carbon by 2035, and is investing over $10 billion in building the most comprehensive ecosystem in various clean and affordable energy solutions including hydrogen and battery cell manufacturing.

A dedicated subsidiary firm - Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd (RNESL) – set up for this purpose, is making a slew of investments and acquisitions in the clean energy space. The company has qualified for the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery Storage in India, and is currently setting up localized cell manufacturing facility. On the H2 front, RNESL is collaborating with Denmark's Stiesdal A/S on manufacturing of Hydrogen Electrolyzers in India.

An experienced entrepreneur with history in global financial services industry, Orral Nadjari established BritishVolt in 2020 as a pioneering battery technology developer in the UK. With 36 percent stake in the company, he strongly backed a plan to build a major EV battery manufacturing base in the country.

In 2022, BritishVolt commenced the construction of its first giga factory in Northumberland, with £1.8 billion funding, including £100 million from the British government, effectively placing UK in the global map of EV hotspots of the future. The facility is expected to make enough battery cells for more than 300,000 EV battery packs per year starting 2024. Orral's strategy of promoting homegrown talent and intellectual property in the field of battery sciences is commendable. 

Peter Carlsson is the founder and CEO of Northvolt. He founded the company with the aim to build Europe's largest lithium-ion battery factory. Having raised €5.55 billion of funding to date, Northvolt works with the biggest automotive manufacturers in the world such as BMW and Volkswagen.

Prior to setting up Northvolt, Peter Carlsson was an executive in the leadership of Tesla Motors. He served as the Vice-President of the supply chain at the company's Palo Alto, California, location.

With Northvolt, he's made it his personal mission to build the greenest battery in the world with a minimal carbon footprint and the highest ambitions for recycling to enable the European transition to renewable energy. In 2017, Northvolt announced a bold and simple plan: to enable the future of energy by developing the world's greenest battery cell and establish a European supply of batteries.

RJ Scaringe founded Rivian in 2009 with an aim to create a line of environmentally friendly vehicles to cater to both commercial and lifestyle buyers. His first two vehicles, an SUV and a pickup truck, debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2018 with wide appreciation for their design and engineering. Rivian rolled out the production variant of its electric pickup truck in September 2021 for commercial sales in global markets.

The company's key investors include Amazon with 20 percent stake, Ford Motor and Cox Automotive. For quite some time, Amazon has been testing Rivian's purpose-built electric delivery vans for e-commerce applications, and has ordered 100,000 vans to hit the roads for its services by 2030. Scaringe considers logistics delivery industry as an opportunity to transform the EV ecosystem in North America, although he has committed more products for the passenger segment as well in future.

Dr. Rahul Fotedar is the Chief Technology Officer and one of the co-founders of Morrow Batteries AS. The company has recently signed a joint venture agreement with governmental agency Siva SF to build the first phase of a giga factory in Arendal, Norway. Operations are scheduled to start in 2023 with a total capacity of 32 GWh, and will go up to 43 GWh by the end of 2028.

Dr. Fotedar has previously worked as scientist in Institute of Energy Technology near Oslo, where he pioneered their research activities in the field of secondary batteries. In 2013, he co-founded Graphene Batteries AS, a startup focused on developing technologies primarily for heavy metal-free batteries. Prior to Morrow, he worked for many years as an expert in advanced cell technology in Hilti Corporation, leading activities on developing and industrializing differentiated cell technologies.

He holds a Master's degree in chemistry from TU München and a PhD degree specializing in battery materials from ETH Zürich.

Ramya Swaminathan is the CEO of Malta Inc. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Malta team demonstrates proven leadership in energy go-to-market strategies and robust engineering talent in industrial-scale power generation systems. It is actively working at commercializing Malta's thermal storage technology.

Ramya joined Malta from Rye Development, where she was CEO, Co-Founder and Member of the Board of FFP New Hydro. She is also a member of U.S. Department of Energy Clean Energy Education and Empowerment, the U.S. Department of Energy Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC), and the U.S. Department of Commerce Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Committee, among her many roles. 

Dr. Shailesh Upreti is the Founder & Chairman of iM3NY, which is a joint venture between Magnis Energy Technologies and Charge CCCV (C4V). The company recently announced the opening of a Li-ion battery factory in New York State, which could ramp up to 38GWh annual production capacity by 2030. Upreti is also the Co-founder and CEO of C4V.

The tech, invented and patented by Dr. Upreti, enhances a Li-Ion battery's lifetime to more than 20 years and improves storage capacity and power while reducing the heat emitted in the event of a fire or short-circuit. He is also working on a plan to manufacture advanced Lithium-ion batteries in India.

Dr. Y. Shirley Meng is an American and Professor of Molecular Engineering at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at University of Chicago, and is an Adjunct Professor at University of California San Diego since 2021. She serves as the Chief Scientist for Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science at Argonne National Laboratory. 

Dr Meng's research focuses primarily on energy storage materials and systems, including rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles and trucks, power sources for Internet of Things as well as grid-scale storage for deep renewable energy penetration. Meng has led the development of liquefied gas electrolytes, allowing for a new class of battery that can operate at -112°F, the technology led to the startup South 8 Technologies.

Simon David Moores is the CEO of London-based Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Ltd, the world's leading price reporting agency, data and intel provider for lithium-ion and the EV battery.

Moores has been specializing in the supply chain for Li-ion batteries since 2006 with an expert focus on lithium. His agency is an independent market intel and price reporting agency that covers the Li-ion supply chains. It is a price report agency that specializes in setting prices for critical minerals used in electric batteries, like lithium cobalt, graphite, and nickel. In 2021, Moores was appointed to the UK government's first ever Expert Committee for Critical Minerals

He began his career in 2006 at Industrial Minerals magazine. During his time as Deputy Editor, he was responsible for creating the lithium industry's first ever annual conference. He established Benchmark in 2014. 

Tarun Mehta co-founded Ather Energy in 2013, shortly after he graduated from IIT Madras. A strong believer in the superiority of innovation in electric mobility, he identified the biggest pain points with EVs in India and tried to come up with feasible solutions. His company is one of the most promising E2W brands in the Indian market, and is on course to be present in 27 cities by the end of this year with rapidly growing demand for its products.

Not just EV assembly, Ather Energy also produces its own battery packs for its e-scooters. The company has also established one of the fastest EV charging infrastructure 'Ather Grid' with 'Made in India' credentials. The company is backed by a series of investment from India's leading 2W company Hero Motocorp, and is bound to garner more investments in the coming years to expand its operations in the e-mobility space in India.

Torstein Dale Sjøtveit is Founder and Executive Chairman of Freyr AS, a developer of clean, next-generation battery cell production capacity.

The company's mission is to produce green battery cells to accelerate the decarbonization of energy and transportation systems globally. It has commenced building the first of its planned factories in Mo i Rana, Norway and announced potential development of industrial scale battery cell production in Vaasa, Finland and the United States. The intention is to install 50 GWh of battery cell capacity by 2025, 100 GWh annual capacity by 2028, and 200 GWh of annual capacity by 2030.

Prior to Freyr, Sjøtveit was CEO of Sarawak Energy Berhad in Malaysia. Formerly, he has held multiple senior leadership roles at large industrial companies, including President and CEO of Aker Yards ASA (now a subsidiary of STX Corporation) and Executive Vice-President of Aluminum Metal of Norsk Hydro ASA.

Vaitea Cowan is the Co-founder of Enapter, a company that manufactures AEM electrolyzers that turn renewable electricity into emission-free hydrogen gas. Enapter's vision is to account for 10 percent of the world's hydrogen generation, and plans to scale mass production by this year.

Cowan currently heads Enapter's communications. A dynamic personality, she connects people to scale green hydrogen and finds special projects to deploy Enapter's electrolyser technology. She was featured on the 'Forbes 30 Under 30' list for Energy in 2020. She also supported Enapter in winning the inaugural Earthshot Prize 'Fix Our Climate' launched by Prince William and The Royal Foundation.

Venkat Viswanathan is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University where he leads an interdisciplinary group comprising ~30 researchers working on energy storage and Li-ion batteries, specifically in sustainable transportation and aviation.

His research contributions have pushed the frontier of computational design and accelerated material discovery cycles for a variety of applications. His work on lithium-air batteries is among the most cited research papers in the area.

As chief scientist at Aionics, Viswanathan identifies with the company's machine learning-based approaches to industrial R&D. As chief scientist at Chement, he is working on reducing carbon emissions during cement production. At the beginning of 2022, Indian company TVS announced the appointment of Viswanathan as Technical Advisor for its e-mobility business. 

Vikram Handa is a self-motivated and innovation-savvy entrepreneur behind Epsilon Aerospace and Epsilon Carbon. He established Epsilon Advanced Materials in 2018 as an aspiring global supplier of cheap-but-high-quality synthetic graphite anode materials for use in Li-ion battery production. The company seeks to become the preferred supplier to battery manufacturers and energy storage device companies across the globe.

With the advent of government's ACC PLI scheme and maturation of cell manufacturing in India, Handa's innovative strategy of using locally-sourced coal tar (a by-product from steel industry) to make synthetic graphite materials that are critical for battery supply chain, is being recognized as a significant feat to boost a sustainable battery cell industry. In 2022, his company has also bagged orders from various global battery and materials firms in Europe and US for supply of synthetic anode materials. 

Dr. Vincent Sprenkle is the Senior Technical Advisor at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). This group is focused on the development of electrochemical materials and systems for advanced energy storage and conversion applications.

He is also project manager for the Department of Energy - Office of Electricity Energy Storage Program at PNNL. This project is focused on the development of novel, low-cost electrochemical energy storage technologies, improved safety, and reliability of grid-scale storage, and understanding the value and use of grid-scale storage.

Dr. Sprenkle has been active in electrochemical technologies for 25 years and holds 23 US patents on fuel cells, batteries, and high-temperature electrochemical devices with 22 pending patent applications. 

Yen T Yeh is a California-based young professional, with over a decade of experience in the battery industry. Executive Director and Co-founder of Volta foundation, he is a force to reckon with for harnessing the power of community to bring together technology experts, professionals, and companies in the battery industry, to share synergies with each other and forge collaboration to take the industry forward. 

Volta's monthly event called 'Battery Brunch' is touted as the world's largest community of industry, academia, finance, and policy leaders in the battery industry, with over 20,000 members from 4,000 organizations. With a mission to build a trusting, collaborative cohort that drives disruptive innovation in battery, the platform periodically brainstorms ideas, discuses latest technology and market trends. Other initiatives of the Foundation include: 'Battery Bits' publications, industry reports under 'Battery Report', and open communication channels 'Battery Street', to foster a healthy ecosystem for the battery industry.

Yi Cui is the Director of Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University. He is a professor of material sciences, and runs a research lab to explore different technologies of energy storage and nanoengineered applications. He is one of the most influential academic minds in the field of battery and energy sciences of our times. 

He has been elected member of the National Academy of Sciences this year, for his distinguished contributions in the field of energy and battery research. He was also awarded the 2021 Global Energy Prize for new energy applications. The award cites Cui's exceptional contributions in nanomaterials design, synthesis and characterization for energy and the environment, particularly for transformational innovations in battery science.

Author : ETN
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