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Energy and Environment Directorate

Mike Thorson

Mike Thorson

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352
(509) 371-6789

Biography

Michael Thorson is a Senior Research Engineer, and Project Manager within the Energy Processes & Materials Division (EP&MD) of the Energy and Environment Directorate (EED) at PNNL. Dr. Thorson joined PNNL in 2018 with Industrial Research experience from Dow Chemical. Dr. Thorson’s expertise is in reaction engineering, process development, and heterogenous catalysis. His current research work is focused on developing hydrothermal processing by advancing hydrothermal liquefaction for the conversion of wet wastes to fuels and chemicals, where he leads several projects. He has additional work focused on catalyst development to produce renewable fuels and chemicals. Dr. Thorson has research experience with multiple conversion processes in the fields of hydrogenation (e.g. acetylene hydrogenation, herbicide hydrogenation), hydrotreating (biocrudes and co-processing), oxidation (wet air oxidation, ethylene oxide), electrochemistry (CO2 reduction, and other commercially deployed reduction), ketonization, and oligomerization.

Research Interests

  • Hydrothermal liquefaction
  • Heterogeneous catalysis and process development
  • Reaction engineering
  • Sustainable processes for fuels and chemicals

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
  • M.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman

PNNL Patents

PNNL Publications

2022

  • Cronin D.J., S. Subramaniam, C.O. Brady, A.R. Cooper, Z. Yang, J.S. Heyne, and C. Drennan, et al. 2022. "Sustainable Aviation Fuel from Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Wet-Wastes." Energies 15, no. 4:Art. No. 1306. PNNL-SA-169987. doi:10.3390/en15041306
  • Santosa D.M., L. Wendt, B.D. Wahlen, A.J. Schmidt, J.M. Billing, I.V. Kutnyakov, and R.T. Hallen, et al. 2022. "Impact of storage and blending of algae and forest product residue on fuel blendstock production." Algal Research 62. PNNL-SA-169550. doi:10.1016/j.algal.2021.102622
  • Snowden-Swan L.J., S. Li, M.R. Thorson, A.J. Schmidt, D.J. Cronin, Y. Zhu, and T.R. Hart, et al. 2022. Wet Waste Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Biocrude Upgrading to Hydrocarbon Fuels: 2022 State of Technology. PNNL-33622. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Wet Waste Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Biocrude Upgrading to Hydrocarbon Fuels: 2022 State of Technology
  • Snowden-Swan L.J., S. Li, Y. Jiang, M.R. Thorson, A.J. Schmidt, T.E. Seiple, and J.M. Billing, et al. 2022. Wet Waste Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Biocrude Upgrading to Hydrocarbon Fuels: 2021 State of Technology. PNNL-32731. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. doi:10.2172/1863608.Wet Waste Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Biocrude Upgrading to Hydrocarbon Fuels: 2021 State of Technology

2021

  • Kallupalayam Ramasamy K., M.R. Thorson, J.M. Billing, J.E. Holladay, C. Drennan, B. Hoffman, and Z. Haq. 2021. Hydrothermal Liquefaction: Path to Sustainable Aviation Fuel. PNNL-31930. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Hydrothermal Liquefaction: Path to Sustainable Aviation Fuel
  • Snowden-Swan L.J., J.M. Billing, M.R. Thorson, A.J. Schmidt, Y. Jiang, D.M. Santosa, and T.E. Seiple, et al. 2021. Wet Waste Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Biocrude Upgrading to Hydrocarbon Fuels: 2020 State of Technology. PNNL-30982. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Wet Waste Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Biocrude Upgrading to Hydrocarbon Fuels: 2020 State of Technology
  • Subramaniam S., D.M. Santosa, C.O. Brady, M.S. Swita, K. Kallupalayam Ramasamy, and M.R. Thorson. 2021. "Extended catalyst lifetime testing for HTL biocrude hydrotreating to produce fuel blendstocks from wet wastes." ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 9, no. 38:12825-12832. PNNL-SA-161175. doi:10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c02743
  • Thorson M.R., D.M. Santosa, R.T. Hallen, I.V. Kutnyakov, M.V. Olarte, M.D. Flake, and G.G. Neuenschwander, et al. 2021. "SCALEABLE HYDROTREATING OF HTL BIOCRUDE TO PRODUCE FUEL BLENDSTOCKS." Energy and Fuels 35, no. 14:11346-11352. PNNL-SA-160510. doi:10.1021/acs.energyfuels.1c00956
  • Zhu Y., S.B. Jones, A.J. Schmidt, H.M. Job, J.M. Billing, J.R. Collett, and K.R. Pomraning, et al. 2021. Microalgae Conversion to Biofuels and Biochemical via Sequential Hydrothermal Liquefaction (SEQHTL) and Bioprocessing: 2020 State of Technology. PNNL-30124. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Microalgae Conversion to Biofuels and Biochemical via Sequential Hydrothermal Liquefaction (SEQHTL) and Bioprocessing: 2020 State of Technology

2020

  • Klinger J., D. Carpenter, V. Thompson, N. Yancey, R. Emerson, K. Gaston, and K.M. Smith, et al. 2020. "Pilot plant reliability metrics for grinding and fast pyrolysis of woody residues." ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 8, no. 7:2793-2805. PNNL-SA-150427. doi:10.1021/acssuschemeng.9b06718
  • Snowden-Swan L.J., J.M. Billing, M.R. Thorson, A.J. Schmidt, D.M. Santosa, S.B. Jones, and R.T. Hallen. 2020. Wet Waste Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Biocrude Upgrading to Hydrocarbon Fuels: 2019 State of Technology. PNNL-29882. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Wet Waste Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Biocrude Upgrading to Hydrocarbon Fuels: 2019 State of Technology
  • Zhu Y., S.B. Jones, A.J. Schmidt, J.M. Billing, M.R. Thorson, D.M. Santosa, and R.T. Hallen, et al. 2020. Algae/Wood Blends Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Upgrading: 2019 State of Technology. PNNL-29861. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Algae/Wood Blends Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Upgrading: 2019 State of Technology

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas

Contacts