Tom Guarr

Project: Organic materials for energy storage

Tom is a Ph.D. chemist who is passionate about finding practical solutions to real-world technical problems. Tom serves as Director of the Organic Energy Storage Laboratory at the Michigan State University Bioeconomy Institute in Holland, Mich. In 2014, he co‑founded Jolt Energy Storage Technologies, LLC, where he hopes to use molecular design principles to create organic compounds that will revolutionize the field of energy storage.

Tom earned his doctorate in Chemistry at the University of Rochester, where he investigated the photocatalytic generation of solar fuels. He performed postdoctoral work in electrochemistry at the California Institute of Technology, developing methods for the fabrication of chemically modified electrodes for sensor applications.

As a faculty member at the University of Kentucky, he worked with a diverse set of collaborators on a wide variety of topics, ranging from the fabrication of novel conductive polymers to laser spectroscopy to the chemistry of fullerenes. After joining a small Michigan-based company (Gentex Corporation), Tom worked to design organic materials that were sufficiently robust to meet the demanding requirements of automotive and aerospace applications. This chemistry now forms the basis for tens of millions of self-dimming rearview mirrors sold each year. He also led the team that developed the electrochromic windows that are now standard equipment on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Tom has co-authored numerous scientific publications in several fields and currently holds more than 65 U.S. Patents.