Kendra Hagey

Kendra Hagey is a Chemical Engineering student at University of Michigan…

Linked Donor-Acceptor Compounds for use in Symmetric Non-Aqueous Redox Flow Batteries 

Kendra Hagey 

Dr. Thomas Guarr 

Organic Chemistry Storage Laboratory at Michigan State Bioeconomy Institute 

As the need for renewable energy grows, inexpensive and reliable grid storage is necessary to meet the energy demand and stabilize the grid against the intermittency of renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Non-aqueous redox flow batteries offer a higher cell voltage than aqueous flow batteries, as the latter are limited by the narrow potential window of water. However, non-aqueous redox flow batteries face other challenges such as reduced conductivity, higher electrolyte cost, and low solubility. Linking the anolyte and the catholyte together in a symmetric system eliminates the need for a costly ion selective membrane and enables the use of a simple porous membrane to facilitate ion transfer. Various donor-acceptor compounds have been synthesized and characterized using mass spectrometry and cyclic voltammetry. Preliminary tests were conducted to determine electrochemical properties, stability, and solubility. 

This research was supported by Lakeshore Advantage. 

It was a great summer Kendra.  Keep in touch while you continue your studies at UMich.

Luke Cooper

Luke is a Chemistry major at Alma College…

Synthesis and Electrochemical Analysis of Photocyclized Pyridinium Salts 

Lucas Cooper

Pyridinium salts have many uses, including playing a key role in reaching drug targets, food preservatives, and electrolytes for energy storage. Photocyclized pyridinium salts haven’t been explored as thoroughly but may keep their electrochemical properties while also having other useful qualities. Analyzing a cyclized pyridinium with an amino group may show polymerization at high voltages and catalytic properties previously unseen in pyridiniums. The compounds were synthesized from a pyrylium intermediate, followed by a condensation, and exposure to oxygen and ultraviolet light. The compounds were examined using mass spectrometry, and cyclic voltammetry. 

Thanks for the summer Luke!  Have a great last year at Alma.

Brett Cesar

Our first highlighted intern is Brett Cesar.  Brett is a Chemical Engineering student at MSU…

Stability Analysis of Non-Aqueous Redox Flow Battery Active Materials 

Brett Cesar 

Dr. Thomas Guarr 

Organic Chemistry Storage Laboratory at Michigan State Bioeconomy Institute 

Redox flow batteries offer the benefit of being safer and more scalable than traditional lithium-ion batteries. However, most redox flow batteries make use of aqueous solvents that limit the cell voltage and employ relatively rare metals that increase the cost and environmental impact of the cell. Non-aqueous redox flow batteries have been explored to reduce these costs while increasing cell voltage and energy density. One method of achieving these goals includes the use of linked active materials in symmetric, non-aqueous redox flow batteries. The stability of several linked compounds prepared in our lab was analyzed through spectroelectrochemistry and bulk electrolysis. 

This research was supported by the Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland, Lakeshore Advantage, and Michigan State University. 

Thanks for spending the summer with us.  Good luck with the next triathlon.  Wish we could keep up!

Summer 2022

Summer 2022 is in full swing and I will be introducing our class members in posts in the coming weeks.  We are in the middle of interesting research, we have taken some industry tours, we have enjoyed enriching talks at Hope College, we have been kayaking, volleyballing, ice cream eating and enjoying the summer.  Also many thanks to Hope College for once again inviting us to present posters at their end-of-summer symposium.  It was an excellent experience (as always!).  We will soon be traveling to East Lansing to present at the MSU Mid-Sure poster symposium.

Summer 2022 is under way!

The OESLab has five new interns this summer…

Brett Cesar – Michigan State University

Luke Cooper – Alma College

Kendra Hagey – University of Michigan

Taylor Opolka – Davenport University

Evelyn Widmaier – University of Michigan

Stay tuned for more news!

Summer Internship Applications Now Accepted

We are very excited to open the application process for Summer 2022!

Lots of info here:

  • Summer researchers work on individual, unique projects.
  • They are supervised by Dr. Tom Guarr, Director of R&D at the Michigan State University Bioeconomy Institute and PI of the OESLab.
  • Please note the lab is in Holland, MI, not East Lansing, MI.
  • Our summer program lasts ten weeks. This may be extended by mutual agreement.
  • Start dates are flexible.
  • We are paying $15.00/hr for 40 hours each week.
  • We will help you find housing for the summer.  Housing may be in a rental with other students.
  • At the end of the summer we will participate in a poster session where your individual research can be presented.  Please see below for areas of research.
  • Look through this blog to see other summer’s research groups and activities.

Please read this post carefully and follow directions to apply.

Go to  Search for job # 743283.  Follow instructions to apply.

Please include with your application:

  1. Resume
  2. Cover letter detailing which area of our research most interests you (see below)
  3. List of technical classes (You can send your transcript, but all we need is a list)
  4. At least one reference (preferably academic or research reference)

Here is a graphic of our research areas:

Please email Laura Ives with any questions. <—— that is me.  I am very responsive.

Our application window will close February 28, 2022.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

This flyer has been designed using resources from

Summer 2021 is in the books

We had a great summer with some great interns.

Johnny and Amber, have a great year back at school.  Charley, welcome to the team.

It will soon be time to post and apply to summer internships for summer 2022.  Please consider joining us at the OESLab in Holland, MI.

Amber Little

Amber is our third intern for summer 2021.  She is a Chemical Engineering student from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.  Her summer abstract is titled “Electrochemical Investigation of a Symmetric Nonaqueous Redox Flow Battery”.

Amber is returning to Rose-Hulman for her last year to complete her degree.  Amber is a very efficient lab worker and she helped us continue the development of a working redox flow battery prototype.  Thank you for spending the summer with us, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for you!