2019 Summer Internship applicants now accepted

Below is the flyer for the 2019 summer internship program.  Also included is a graphic depicting the kinds of projects available here at the OESL.

If you are interested in applying please provide:

1) Resume

2) Cover letter indicating area of research of greatest interest to you

3) Minimum of one reference

4) List of college level science courses you have completed

Please email applications to Laura Ives at iveslaur@msu.edu.

We are looking forward to seeing your applications!

Tom Guarr and Jolt Energy win Ocean Exchange Orcelle Award

Congratulations to Tom Guarr for being presented the 2018 Ocean Exchange Orcelle Award on October 9th in Savannah, Georgia!



The WW Orcelle® Award 2018 $100,000 USD is given to the solution that can make our logistic operations more sustainable by advancing high-efficiency or zero-emission technologies that are commercially viable.

AIMES 2018 in Cancun

The Americas International Meeting on Electrochemistry and Solid State Science was held in Cancun this year.  Dr Tom Guarr and Shane Mann from the OESLab attended with Dr Adina Dumitrascu and Dr Dan Henton from the Midland St. Andrews lab.  Shane and Adina presented posters. 

The summer of 2018 = the summer of the female chemical engineer

There has been a lot of push lately to get women involved in the STEM fields, and if our lab is any indication, it seems to be working.  This summer we had three female chemical engineers join our lab as interns…. and that was our entire cohort of interns.  Brittney, Bridget and Nora were all great contributors.  Although the OESL is primarily involved in organic chemistry synthesis, we have found that many of the successful “synthesizers” are engineers.  We also bring them aboard for more traditional engineering roles like economic analysis and battery cell design and construction.

The summer of 2018 presented a challege for Tom Guarr, our principal researcher, as he had to split his time between the OESL and Argonne Labs.  But many people stepped in to help lead our lab to a great summer.  Many thanks to Nick Mortimer, Shane Mann, Jason Gillmore and Anthony Porath for stepping in and ensuring success.


Nick Mortimer

Nick is a long-time research guru and veteran of our lab.  He is young, but he is as seasoned and experienced as researchers get here at MSUBI.  Nick is a graduate of GVSU and has been a researcher here for four years.  During that time, he has contributed in countless ways to the progress of the research and the good vibes at our lab.  He has been a mentor to many, many undergraduate researchers and graduate students.  He has presented many posters and has his name on a rechargeable lithium ion cell patent application.  He has been such an integral part of the OESL for so long, we may forget how to operate without him.

Nick is getting married to the lovely Leah Campau and we wish them all the best for their future.  After the marriage they are going on an epic honeymoon in the far east and then settling in Colorado to plan their future together.  Colorado is lucky to get Nick.  Whatever he decides for his future, whether it be further employment in the Chemistry field, or expanding his already successful sunglasses/watch business, he will be assured to have a great future.

Thanks for the years of service Nick, and enjoy your promising future!

Andrew Rajewski joins OESL

We have been and will be going through many personnel changes in the near past and the near future.  Andy Rajewski is the second Alma College Chemistry graduate to join the group recently.  We are happy to have you Andy, and we welcome you to OESL and MSU!

Nora Shaheen

Nora is a graduate of (the) Ohio State University.  Yes, I know, but we still let her in the building.  She is our third female Chemical Engineer intern this summer!

Characterization and degradation studies of redox-active organic heterocycles

Nora Shaheen, Nick Mortimer, Shane Mann, and Dr. Thomas Guarr

Protecting batteries from overcharging is critical to prolonging the battery lifetime and preventing dangerous thermal runaway events. Redox shuttles are electrolyte additives that reduce the risk of such events, and therefore help make batteries safer for use. While a myriad of redox shuttles exist, this study focuses predominantly on 9-methyl-3,6-di(t-butyl)carbazole, and 10-methyl-3,7-di(t-butyl)phenothiazine-5,5-dioxide. These heterocycles have shown to be efficient redox shuttles, but further studies into 1) solubility in the desired electrolyte, 2) mass transfer characteristics and limitations, and 3) stability under normal use conditions are necessary. Rotating Disk Electrode (RDE) was used to study the diffusion coefficients of phenothiazine-5,5-dioxides with various N-substituents. Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry (MS) was used to study the gas-phase fragmentation patterns of deuterium-labeled derivatives of these compounds. Lastly, the chemical stability of oxidized 10-methyl-3,7-di(t-butyl)phenothiazine-5,5-dioxide was examined using UV-Vis. The compound was oxidized using bulk electrolysis and through chemical oxidation; preliminary data indicates there are minimal changes in the optical spectrum over time. Further studies are necessary to determine the long-term stability of the oxidized material.

Nora is attending Chemical Engineering graduate school at Case Western Reserve University this fall.  We wish her the best and we know she will be amazing.

Research Position Available

A research position is available in the lab of Dr. Thomas Guarr at the Michigan State University Organic Energy Storage Laboratory in Holland, MI. An ideal candidate will have experience in the areas of organic synthesis, analytical chemistry, electrochemistry and device design. This position will also assist with the lab’s summer internship program, working with undergraduate interns and their research projects.

Researchers have opportunities to publish papers, give poster presentations and travel to symposia and conferences. Several have made important contributions to inventions and are listed as co-inventors on international patent applications. Many employees and interns have chosen to continue their research at graduate schools that include MSU, University of Michigan, UNC, Notre Dame, Clemson, and Purdue among others. Past employees and interns have gone on to be a Fulbright Scholar or work at National Labs like Argonne National Laboratory and technology companies such as Bend Research in Bend, OR.

Our researchers are usually interested in furthering their education but desire getting more extensive research and experience for a year or two before continuing onward.

All prospective candidates are encouraged to apply by emailing their CV and the contact information of references to Laura Ives at iveslaur@msu.edu. The review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. To learn more about the OESL group, please visit our website at https://oesl.bioeconinst.msu.edu/

Bridget O’Connell

Bridget is another Chemical Engineer intern this summer from Michigan Technological University.  Go Huskies!  Bridget performed a great economic analysis of our redox flow battery.

Techno-economic analysis of a nonaqueous redox flow battery with a simple separator.

Bridget O’Connell, Dr. Andre Benard, Korey Cook, Dr. Tom Guarr, Shane Mann

Energy storage is critical for electricity grids that are comprised of intermittent energy sources. Redox flow batteries (RFB) represent a promising method for energy storage and power generation that can be reliable. However, current RFBs lack the capability to meet the demanding $100/kWh requirement established by the Department of Energy (DOE). In this presentation, economic prospects of achievable future cost projections are discussed with the aid of equations and experimental data.

Despite higher chemical costs, employing a chemical system that uses a simple separator, and the implementation of a two-electron transfer system, has reduced the overall capital cost per kWh by 28%. With these changes, the RFB meets the DOE’s target with an overall capital cost of $100.41/kWh. This battery exceeds the DOE’s target of $0.05/kWh for the levelized cost of storage.

Future chemical permutations will be dedicated to reducing molecular weight and material costs. In the end, the impact of these alterations on the overall capital cost per kilowatt-hour, and the LCOS, will drive future research.

Bridget is also returning to MTU and soon will be studying abroad in Chile. (I’m pretty sure I have that right).  Thank you for your time this summer Bridget, and thank you for showing that our batteries are economically viable and ready for scale-up!