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.
Sebastian Freund, Ph.D.
Power Plant Design Lead
Sebastian Freund joined Malta from X. Specializing in thermodynamics and heat transfer, he worked previously at GE Global Research in the areas of heat exchangers, concentrated solar, heat recovery, gas turbine power plants, centrifugal and reciprocating compressors, diesel and gas engines, and led the compressed air energy storage project for 5 years (ADELE 90 MW ACAES).
Prior to corporate R&D, Sebastian worked at a consulting firm for Industrial Refrigeration and HVAC. He holds a PhD (HSU Hamburg) and a MS (UW-Madison) in mechanical engineering and has numerous publications and patents on power plant and heat transfer technology.
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.
Turbomachinery Technical Lead
Jenn joined the Malta team in 2017 as the turbomachinery technical lead, bringing with her more than a decade of experience in turbomachinery. Jenn’s career started at GE Power in the Edison Engineering Development Program where she had rotational assignments related to power plant turbomachinery design and validation. The majority of her tenure with GE was focused in heavy duty gas turbine design where she led engineering activities for the 7FA.05, 7HA, and 9HA machines. Before leaving GE, she was the HA.02 compressor rotor technical leader overseeing technical teams domestically and internationally working on the 7HA.02, 9HA.02 and next generation NPIs. The most rewarding project Jenn has worked on was the development of GE’s Test Stand 7, the only full speed full load gas turbine facility in the world capable of full engine validation for large industrial gas turbines.
Jenn is inspired by projects that pave the way for technical advancement in energy and tries to find ways to live by the motto of her undergraduate alma mater, RPI, “Why not change the world?” Jenn also has a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech and is an Advanced Courses in Engineering (ACE) graduate from GE Power.
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.
Michael Idelchik (Chairman)
Breakthrough Energy Ventures
Concord New Energy