In the News

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Tech Power Players 50: Yan Wang

Yan Wang, the William B. Smith Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, was named to the Boston Globe’s Tech Power Players 50 list. Wang was recognized for his pioneering work to recycle lithium-ion batteries and to build cleaner li-ion batteries with improved performance.

Recycling Today

“Our analysis finds polystyrene to be an ideal candidate for a chemical recycling process.” – Professor Michael Timko on the study he authored with colleagues from the Department of Chemical Engineering and the University of Bath. The analysis found a simple and scalable technology could increase the viability of recycling products like food packaging and packing peanuts. WPI authors include Professor Nikolaos Kazantzis and PhD students Elizabeth Belden (’24) and Madison Reed. This analysis was also reported on in Plastics Today, Recycling Today, and The Business Magazine.


Analysis from researchers in the Department of Chemical Engineering and at the University of Bath suggests a new approach could dramatically increase the amount of polystyrene recycled. Their paper in the Chemical Engineering Journal finds a simple process combining pyrolysis and distillation has the potential to be a scalable, cost- and energy-efficient method of transforming old into new when it comes to polystyrene. WPI researchers include professors Michael Timko and Nikolaos Kazantzis and PhD students Elizabeth Belden (’24) and Madison Reed.



"What we wanted to know was if we could make the process much more efficient by using the plastic itself to fuel the cleanup process." GBH News’ All Things Considered spoke with chemical engineering professor Michael Timko about his research with professor Nikolaos Kazantzis to turn plastic into fuel to improve ocean cleanup.

Good News Network

Chemical engineering professors Michael Timko and Nikolaos Kazantzis are leading efforts to give ships the ability to transform collected plastic garbage in oceans into fuel.

NBC Boston

Chemical engineering professor Michael Timko is leading efforts to transform plastics with a goal of improving ocean cleanup efforts. This work was highlighted in a report from NBC Boston.

Biodiesel Magazine

Chemical Engineering Professor Mike Timko and PhD student Heather LeClerc spoke with Biodiesel Magazine Podcast about their research to create a renewable biodiesel fuel from food waste.


Newsy spoke with Chemical Engineering Professor Mike Timko and Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Ali Salifu about their research that found bamboo can be converted into biofuel to power vehicles and generators.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

The CBC Radio program Quirks & Quarks spoke with Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Michael Timko about his research to have ships remove plastic waste from the world’s oceans, and then chemically convert that waste into fuel that could power the plastic-collecting ships. Timko says this could significantly reduce the emissions associated with efforts to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.


U.S. News

Chemical Engineering Professor Michael Timko spoke with U.S. News & World Report about the future of hydrogen energy. “I think that societally, we're just entranced with this silver bullet thinking… you’re hoping that each one's the perfect solution, when in fact, you're probably going to need a layered approach – lots of different solutions for different applications,” said Timko.

New Atlas

New Atlas published an article about Professor Michael Timko’s research into the feasibility of converting plastic material found in the ocean into "blue diesel" that could power ships at sea.

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart Living cited work by Associate Chemical Engineering Professor Michael Timko in their online article. “What do you get when you mix food and yard waste? Hopefully a new eco-friendly source of biofuel. Michael Timko, a professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Worcester, Massachusetts, is working on a project—being funded by the Department of Energy to the tune of almost $2 million—to mix food waste with municipal green waste, such as yard trimmings, leaves, and sticks. By combining the two kinds of waste, Timko is aiming to create even more energy-dense oil that can be upgraded to a liquid biofuel.”

Yahoo! Finance

Nearly 80 media outlets, reported on research projects led by Michael Timko, associate professor of chemical engineering; Aaron Deskins, associate professor of chemical engineering; and Nikolaos Kazantzis, professor of chemical engineering, that explore finding applications for nitrogen-rich waste products and converting marine plastics into ship fuel.


·A thought leadership piece about how metal-based catalysts can boost biofuel yields by Mike Timko, associate professor of chemical engineering, was published in Biofuels Digest.

Worcester Business Journal

In the article, “WPI Awarded $3M for Graduate Data Program” the Worcester Business Journal reported on WPI using a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a unique graduate curriculum to train the next generation of scientists who can apply chemical sciences along with data analytics, mathematics, and computing power to reduce energy usage, waste, and pollution. Elke Rundensteiner, professor of computer science, founding director of the Data Science program, and principal investigator on the grant, is collaborating with Michael Timko and Aaron Deskins, associate professors of chemical engineering, and Randy Paffenroth, associate professor of mathematical and data sciences, among others.


Mike Timko, assistant professor of chemical engineering, wrote a special piece for Biofuels Digest on how people should consider biofuels instead of waste for power, following the goal behind his research of transforming food waste and yard waste into biofuel. 

WBUR 90.9

WBUR spoke with chemical engineering professor Mike Timko about his research on food and yard waste. Timko and his team recently received $2M to see if both types of waste can make a more efficient biofuel.

The Telegram & Gazette reported on Professor Michael Timko, associate professor of chemical engineering, expanding his green energy research with a $2M Department of Energy grant. ​Timko is teaming up on the project with Andrew Teixeira, assistant professor of chemical engineering, and Geoffrey Tompsett, assistant research professor of chemical engineering.

Worcester Business Journal

The Worcester Business Journal reported on WPI and the University of Massachusetts Lowell partnering to award more than $111,000 in seed funding to six different teams, focusing on work ranging from human-robot collaboration to cancer detection and rehabilitation for stroke patients.

Advanced Science News

Mike Timko, associate professor of chemical engineering, did a Q&A with Advanced Science News about his renewable fuels research. The article also sites Mike's video, "A World Without Waste," which was submitted to the NSF's 2026 Idea Machine competition earlier this year. 


Boston Herald

The Boston Herald reported on Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Michael Timko developing a novel process using an unusual solvent and an exotic microorganism that may make it possible to manufacture isobutanol and other biofuels more economically.