From Theory to a Successful Proof of Concept
The Malta concept is built upon well-established principles in thermodynamics for a system that stores energy as heat (in molten salt) and as cold (in a chilled liquid). The project was incubated at X, Alphabet’s Moonshot Factory, which applies audacious thinking and radical new technologies to solve the world’s most challenging problems. Based on the research they’d seen, X identified the Malta system as a product that had the potential to unlock a wealth of inexpensive clean energy to address global energy demands.
X’s team designed individual system components and evaluated whether the concept could work in the real world at a competitive price-point. The next two years were spent incubating the concept with a focus on derisking the most challenging concepts first. When it became clear that the technology had potential to be commercially viable at grid scale, Malta was formed outside of Alphabet as its own independent company.
On a Mission to Build the Future of Energy Storage Systems
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. Malta has buttressed this core team with the formation of a world-class syndicate of investors and energy industry partners to build and operate its first pilot of an electro-thermal energy storage system.
Chief Executive Officer
Ramya Swaminathan joined Malta from Rye Development, where she was CEO, co-founder and Member of the Board of FFP New Hydro. Under her leadership, Rye Development grew to be the leading developer of new hydropower projects in the United States and its portfolio of development projects, held at its holdco affiliate, FFP New Hydro, advanced from concept through FERC licensing and late stage development financing. She was also responsible for the expansion of Rye’s platform into energy storage, with the addition of two sizable pumped hydro storage development projects in the Pacific Northwest. At Rye Development, Ms. Swaminathan led a multi-disciplinary team, with specialists in engineering and construction, regulatory and environmental aspects, and power marketing. She also led the company through several financing rounds, both at the platform and the project levels.
Prior to her work in the hydropower space, Ms. Swaminathan was a public finance banker, most recently as a Director at UBS, where she focused on public power clients and senior managed more than $10 billion in financings. Ms. Swaminathan holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and a BA in Anthropology from Amherst College.
Acting Chief Technology Officer
As a global leader of five GE divisions, Michael Idelchik was on the front line of creating “world’s-first” products that revolutionized healthcare and aviation. A system-level thinker, he has intricate knowledge of the global technology supply chain from conception to market and has developed talent and led teams throughout the world. His nearly 40 years of success culminated in receiving GE’s highest honor recognizing lifetime achievement.
As Vice President of Advanced Technology at GE Global Research, Michael led a team of 1,200 scientists, engineers, and technicians to develop and mature products and services in vital technological areas. He created collaborations to access and inspire internal and external innovation, and he coached and mentored top technical talent. Michael dramatically expanded GE’s global competitive footprint as Vice President of GE Corporate’s China Technology Center. He founded and built an engineering, sourcing, manufacturing, and research technical center in Shanghai and grew sales by $3B. As Vice President of Technology for GE Lighting, Michael transformed the business by leading a strategic shift toward commercial/industrial and specialized lighting. Previously, he held pioneering roles at GE Healthcare and Aviation, where he developed the world’s first digital X-ray detector, 4 Slice CT detector, and “Picture to Code” application software.
Adrienne Little, Ph.D.
Heat Exchanger Technical Lead
Adrienne Little joined Malta at X as the Thermal Systems Technical Lead on various hardware-based challenges in the energy space. Before starting at X, Adrienne was a Fellow at the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E) at the U.S. Department of Energy where she pursued concepts in advanced manufacturing, worked on the ARID portfolio (Advanced Research in Dry Cooling), and investigated opportunities for modular nuclear reactor concepts. Adrienne graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with both her MS and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering, and she received her BS from the University of California at Berkeley.
Her PhD work at Georgia Tech focused on the development of waste heat recovery technology and analysis of supersonic internal flows for passive compression devices. She performed additional research activities at the Thermal Fluids Laboratory at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, as well as in the Renewable Energy Systems Laboratory at GE Global Research in Germany.
Benjamin Bollinger, Ph.D.
VP Hardware Systems Engineering
Ben Bollinger joined Malta with a background in energy storage and startups. From 2007 to 2015, Ben was Chief Engineer and Co-Founder at SustainX, where he led the systems engineering and process design of the company’s Isothermal Compressed Air Energy Storage (ICAES) technology. Through three development iterations - kW bench-scale to MW-scale commercial prototype - and nearly $40 million raised over 8 years, Ben has seen many of the ups, downs, and pitfalls that startups can run into.
In the interim three years, Ben was VP of Engineering at Altaeros, a lighter-than-air cell-tower startup developing large autonomous aerostats (tethered balloons) to enable the cost-effective deployment of rural telecommunications infrastructure.
Ben received his PhD and BE from the Thayer School of Engineering focusing on acoustics, medical imaging, and signal processing, and his BA from Dartmouth College focusing on mechanical engineering and thermodynamics.
Michael Geyer, Ph.D.
Senior Technical Advisor
Michael Geyer successfully developed in the last fifteen years six large international CSP projects with total 450 MW capacity and over $ 2,200M total investment from scratch to financial close. Since 2007 he built up and lead Abengoa’s international solar business and project developments in solar key market countries Algeria, Egypt, Chile, China, India, Morocco, South Africa and United Arab Emirates. Between 2000 and 2008 he served as the Executive Secretary of the IEA SolarPACES Implementing Agreement. Since November 2007 he has been elected Vice-President of the European Solar Thermal Electricity Association ESTELA. He is author or co-author of more than 60 publications in the mentioned fields, including technical books, journals, conference papers, studies, and reports.
Frederick H Redell, PE
Senior Project Developer
Frederick has over twenty years experience in the energy and engineering services industry. Most recently he served the Mayor of Maui in Hawaii as the Energy Commissioner, assisting with their shift to a renewable future. He previously served as the Managing Director of Abengoa Solar LLC with overall responsibility for all the activities of Abengoa Solar in the United States. Prior to becoming Managing Director he served as General Manager for Abengoa Solar’s Mojave Solar Project, responsible for all of phases of the development, construction, and operation. In his prior employment with Abengoa, Frederick served as the Engineering Director for Abengoa Solar LLC.
Prior to joining Abengoa Solar, Frederick owned an engineering company specializing in energy facility development. In addition to that, he has worked in several roles over his career including operations, engineering, research and project management.
Frederick is a graduate from the University of Illinois, Chicago with a BS in Mechanical Engineering graduating with highest honors. His graduate work was at the University of California, San Diego, with the Center for Energy and Combustion Research, receiving an MS in Mechanical Engineering. In addition, Frederick is a graduate of the Naval Nuclear Power Program, and has served on two submarines, and completed executive education program at Georgetown University. He holds a Professional Engineering license in California.
Elvir Mujanovic joined Malta from Rye Development, where he was VP of Finance. At Rye Development, Elvir was responsible for overseeing corporate finance, accounting, and project financing activities. Prior to FFP, Elvir spent four years at UBS and Merrill Lynch structuring more than $3 billion of assets backed bonds for state housing finance agencies. Elvir has a BS in Finance and Accounting from Northeastern University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Bao Truong, Ph.D, PE, CSEP
Senior Systems Engineer
Bao joined Malta as the Senior Systems Engineer with a background in nuclear engineering and a decade of experience in developing and implementing systems engineering strategies in a startup environment. Bao is a Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP) with broad experience in system requirements development, system design and integration, verification & validation, and operational excellence.
Creating sustainable clean energy solutions to improve the quality and equity of life around the world has been the animating purpose of Bao’s professional journey. Prior to joining Malta, Bao worked at TerraPower, an advanced nuclear energy startup. His work there spanned all aspects of systems engineering, including requirements development, integrated system analysis, testing, safety analysis, engineering processes, verification & validation, training and mentoring, and product development. He spearheaded the application of formal systems engineering to the development of advanced nuclear reactors, managed the Design Integration group, and served as the company’s go-to expert on systems engineering. Before TerraPower, Bao was a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) certified Senior Reactor Operator for 6 years at the MIT research reactor.
Bao has earned many prestigious honors throughout his career, including being among the top 80 young STEM leaders in the U.S. selected to attend the Frontiers of Engineering and the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative conferences. During his graduate studies, he received the Nuclear Engineering University Program and NRC graduate fellowships. Bao holds B.S. degrees in Physics and Nuclear Engineering and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Nuclear Engineering, all from MIT. He also holds Professional Engineering licenses in Mechanical Engineering in Massachusetts and Washington.
Janina Hippler-Nettlau joined Malta from Abengoa, where she was the Engineering Manager of the Mojave Solar Project, two solar thermal power plants with a combined gross capacity of 280MW, in Hinkley, California. In her position she managed various projects from conception to purchasing to installation to improve plant performance and reliability. Janina’s experience also covers the supervision of engineering, construction, and commissioning of the Mojave Solar Project, setting up the operation and maintenance company, and transitioning to commercial operation. Prior to the Mojave Solar Project Janina worked in the R&D department of Abengoa Solar, where she developed, tested, and later commercialized parabolic trough collectors for solar thermal power plants.
Janina holds a Diplom (equivalent to a bachelor’s and a master’s degree) in Mechanical Engineering from the Universität Stuttgart in Germany, where she specialized in Energy Systems and Rational Use of Energy. She developed her diploma thesis, “Design of a Flux Density Measurement System for Solar Thermal Power Tower Plants,” at the Plataforma Solar de Almería in Spain in collaboration with the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
Michael Idelchik (Chairman)
Breakthrough Energy Ventures
Concord New Energy