Professor Levi T. Thompson

Richard E. Balzhiser Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Director, Hydrogen Energy Technology Laboratory, The University of Michigan
Director, Michigan-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation

Department of Chemical Engineering
3020 H.H. Dow Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Telephone: (734) 936-2015
Fax: (734) 763-0459


  • Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan
  • M.S.E. Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, University of Michigan
  • B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware

Short Bio

Professor Thompson earned his B.ChE. from the University of Delaware, and M.S.E. degrees in Chemical Engineering and Nuclear Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. He served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education in the College of Engineering from 2001 to 2005, and is Director of the Hydrogen Energy Technology Laboratory and Director of the Michigan-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. Professor Thompson is recipient of awards including a 2006 Michiganian of the Year Award for his research, entrepreneurship, and recruitment and mentoring of students, NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, Engineering Society of Detroit Gold Award, Union Carbide Innovation Recognition Award and Dow Chemical Good Teaching Award. He is also co-founder, with his wife, of T/J Technologies, a developer of nanomaterials for advanced batteries; Dr. Thompson served as founding CEO and Board Chair until the company was acquired by A123 Systems in 2006. He recently founded Inmatech to commercialize low cost, high energy density supercapacitors. Professor Thompson was Consulting Editor for the AIChE Journal, and served on the National Academy’s Chemical Sciences Roundtable, External Advisory Committee for the Center of Advanced Materials for Purification of Water with Systems, and AIChE Chemical Engineering Technology Operating Council. He presently serves on the DoE Hydrogen Technology Advisory Committee, University of Delaware Chemical Engineering Department Advisory Committee and AIChE Board of Directors, as well as the Board of Trustees for the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation.


Research in our group focuses on the design, synthesis, characterization and evaluation of nanostructured materials for energy conversion and storage applications. Of particular interest is the development structure-function relationships that enable the design of highly efficient materials. In addition, we have developed microfabricated and thermally integrated devices for the process intensification of hydrogen production and conversion. Current projects to develop nanostructured catalytic materials include:
  • hydrogen production (e.g. aldehyde water gas shift and photoelectrochemical reactions)
  • synfuels (e.g. CO2 hydrogenation) and ammonia production
  • biomass upgrading (e.g. hydrodeoxygenation and isomerization)
  • NOx abatement (e.g. oxidation and selective catalytic reduction)

Current projects to develop materials with high energy and/or power densities include:

  • metal coordination complexes for redox flow batteries
  • nanostructured nitrides and carbides for supercapacitors
  • nanostructured oxides for lithium and magnesium ion batteries
  • advanced fiber based separators for batteries

Selected Recent Publications

Courses Taught


ENG 100 Introduction to Engineering: Design for Energy Sustainability
ChE 342 Heat and Mass Transfer
ChE 344 Chemical Reaction Engineering
ChE 496/696 Introduction to Electrochemical Systems
ChE 360 Chemical Engineering Laboratory I
ChE 486 Chemical Process Simulation and Design I


ESE 505/ME 571 Energy Generation and Storage
ChE 509 Statistical Analysis of Engineering Experiments
ChE 542 Transport Phenomena
ChE 628 Industrial Catalysis
ChE 697 Experimental Methods for the Synthesis and Characterization of Advanced Catalytic and Electronic Materials
ChE 696 Special Topics in Hydrogen and Fuel Cells


Tau Beta Pi Outstanding Teaching Award (1989)
Dow Chemical Good Teaching Award (1990)
NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award (1991)
Union Carbide Corp. Innovation Recognition Award (1992, 1993)
Dept. of Chemical Engineering Excellence in Research Award (1993)
Dept. of Chemical Engineering Service Excellence Award (1994)
Outstanding Performance and Leadership Award from ABPAFS (1995)
UOP Invitational Lecturer (2000)
Henry R. Johnson Award (2001)
Dept. of Chemical Engineering Service Excellence Award (2005, 2001)
GEM Outstanding Academic Award (2004)
American Chemical Society Distinguished Lecture (NOBCChE) (2005)
College of Engineering Service Excellence Award (2006)
University of Delaware Outstanding Alumnus Award (2006)
Michigan Catalysis Society, Guiseppe Parravano Award (2006)
Engineering Society of Detroit, Gold Award (2007)
Michiganian of the Year (2007) – one of 12 for the State of Michigan recognized for research excellence and entrepreneurial contributions
Louis H. Latimer Award, American Association of Blacks in Energy (2011)
DAPCEP-DTE Energy Real McCoy Award (2012)
McBride Distinguished Lectureship, Case Western Reserve Univ. (2014)


American Chemical Society
American Institute of Chemical Engineers (Board of Directors, 2014-2016)
American Vacuum Society
Electrochemical Society
Materials Research Society
Michigan Catalysis Society (Sec., 1992; Pres.-Elect, 1993; Pres., 1994)
National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers
Tau Beta Pi
The Catalysis Society

Other Professional Service

Co-founded T/J Technologies, Inc. with Maria Thompson. T/J Technologies developed and commercialized high performance materials for electrochemical storage and conversion devices. Served as Chief Executive Officer until 2002 and Board Chair until 2006. Acquired by A123 Systems, manufacturer of lithium ion batteries for hybrid vehicles, in 2006.
Co-founded Inmatech, Inc. with Dr. Saemin Choi. Inmatech is developing early transition metal carbide and nitride catalysts, nanostructured materials for supercapacitors and systems for use in diesel exhaust after-treatment.
Consulting Editor for the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) Journal (2003-2008)
Alliance Director, Michigan-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (2005-present); President Mary Sue Coleman, Principal Investigator
FACES Distinguished Seminar Speaker, Georgia Institute of Technology (2005)
Keynote speaker at the Seventeenth Annual RISE Student Achievement Banquet, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, May 11, 1990.
Elected Secretary-Treasurer (1992), President Elect (1993) and President (1994) of Michigan Catalysis Society

Member of:
Advisory Committee for the Center of Advanced Materials for Purification of Water with Systems, an NSF Science and Technology Center at the University of Illinois (2002-present)
National Science Foundation Engineering Directorate, External Advisory Committee (2003-2005)
National Science Foundation Engineering Directorate, Chemical Thermal Systems Division, Committee of Visitors (2003)
Dean’s Advisory Committee, Case Western Reserve University (2004-2006)
National Academy of Sciences, Committee on the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives Programs (2005-present)
American Institute of Chemical Engineering, Chemical Technology Operating Council (2005-present); Vice-Chair (2010)
National Science Foundation, Catalysis by Nanostructured Materials International Assessment Team (2006-2008)
Chemical Engineering Advisory Board, Mississippi State University (2007-present)
Review Committee, Department of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University (2007)
National Academy of Sciences, Committee on the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives Programs (2005-present)
American Institute of Chemical Engineering, Chemical Technology Operating Council (2005-present); Vice-Chair (2010); Chair (2011)
National Academies Chemical Sciences Roundtable (2007-present)
National Academies Panel on Sensors and Electron Devices (2008-present)
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Energy Security Strategy and Implementation Plan, External Advisory Board (2009-present)
Department of Energy, Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Technical Advisory Committee (2010-present)

Department of Chemical Engineering | University of Michigan

Copyright 2016 Levi T. Thompson