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Goddard Hall, 123
Phone: +1-508-831-4101

Michael T. Timko

Sharing that “ah hah” moment with a student struggling and suddenly mastering a difficult concept; helping expand the intellectual horizons of an aspiring engineer; tackling and solving problems that challenge the energy, economic, and environmental security with passionate students; sharing my passion for engineering science: these are the reasons that I am a professor of chemical engineering.  WPI students understand the importance of translating their engineering talents into technologies and knowledge that benefit others.  My role is to light the fire and open new doors for budding engineers.

The stereotypical view of a scientist or engineer is as a solitary figure, toiling away in the lab.  And, if this were true, I’d never have become an engineer because nothing could be further from the truth.  I thrive on interactions with my colleagues and students – especially students.  I enjoy “talking shop”, whether it be to solve a specific problem we’ve encountered in the lab, to thrash out the details of a new technology, or to take a step back and consider the broader implications and context of our work.  Interaction with talented, passionate people who have a different view points and skills than I have is what drives me in this field.

My research interests include the studying the environmental and engineering aspects of clean energy technologies, with a specific emphasis on liquid transportation fuels.  Liquid transportation fuels are derived nearly exclusively from petroleum resources – these resources are finite, distributed un-evenly around the world, and their combustion contributes to many different environmental problems.  My work involves studying the fundamental chemical engineering science – including transport, phase behavior, and reactor design – to develop new technologies for converting under-utilized energy resources into fuels and chemicals.  Specific problems of interest are ones that combine concepts from various sub-disciplines – such as phase equilibria and reaction mechanism analysis – into an integrated process technology.  I firmly believe that solving the truly pressing technology problems of the 21st century will require cross-disciplinary collaboration – engineers, chemists, physicists, biologists, etc.  Incorporating imaginative collaborations into my work has been and will continue to be a driving force.

Research Interests

  • renewable energy and waste-to-energy technologies
  • liquid transportation fuels
  • biomass fuels
  • reaction engineering
  • thermodynamics
  • fuel refining and desulfurization


  • B.S. Chemical Engineering, The Ohio State University, 1998
  • M.S. Chemical Engineering Practice, MIT, 2001
  • Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, MIT, 2004
  • Post-doctoral researcher, Harvard University, 2004-2006

Featured Publications

  • Timko, M.T.; Fortner, E.; Franklin, J.; Yu, Z.; Wong, H.-W.; Onasch, T.B.; Miake-Lye, R.C.; Herndon, S.C., Atmospheric measurements of the physical evolution of aircraft exhaust plumes.Environmental Science & Technology 2013 http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es304349c.
  • Gonzalez, L. A.; Kracke, P.; Green, W. H.; Tester, J. W.; Shafer, L. M.; Timko, M. T., Oxidative Desulfurization of Middle-Distillate Fuels Using Activated Carbon and Power Ultrasound. Energy & Fuels 2012, 26, (8), 5164-5176.
  • Wu, G.; Dabiri, S.; Timko, M. T.; Ghoniem, A. F., Fractionation of multi-component hydrocarbon droplets in water at supercritical or near-critical conditions. Journal of Supercritical Fluids 2012, 72, 150-160.
  • Timko, M. T.; Yu, Z.; Onasch, T. B.; Wong, H. W.; Miake-Lye, R. C.; Beyersdorf, A. J.; Anderson, B. E.; Thornhill, K. L.; Winstead, E. L.; Corporan, E.; DeWitt, M. J.; Klingshirn, C. D.; Wey, C.; Tacina, K.; Liscinsky, D. S.; Howard, R.; Bhargava, A., Particulate Emissions of Gas Turbine Engine Combustion of a Fischer-Tropsch Synthetic Fuel. Energy & Fuels 2010, 24, 5883-5896.
  • Timko, M. T.; Herndon, S. C.; Wood, E. C.; Onasch, T. B.; Northway, M. J.; Jayne, J. T.; Canagaratna, M. R.; Miake-Lye, R. C.; Knighton, W. B., Gas Turbine Engine Emissions-Part I: Volatile Organic Compounds and Nitrogen Oxides. Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power-Transactions of the ASME 2010, 132, (6).

Professional Highlights

  • Senior Engineer, Aerodyne Research Inc. 2006-2009
  • Principal Engineer, Aerodyne Research Inc. 2009-2012
  • Executive Director Fuel Desulfurization and Research Engineer, MIT, 2009-2012
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