David Heitala

David C. Hietala, Ph.D., CFEI

Senior Associate
Thermal Sciences
Warrenville
  • CV (English)
  • Contact Card

Dr. Hietala employs chemical engineering principles to help solve complex problems from clients in a variety of industries. Dr. Hietala has expertise in solving problems involving reaction engineering and heat- and mass-transfer for a variety of industries, including consumer products, float glass manufacturing, automotive catalysis, and renewable energy. Dr. Hietala also specializes in fire and explosion investigation and process safety management. As a certified fire and explosion investigator, he has assisted with the investigation of numerous fires, explosions, and chemical releases at the residential, commercial, and industrial scales. Dr. Hietala has experience with both site inspections and laboratory testing during the investigation process.

Through his graduate studies, Dr. Hietala has extensive experience with experimental and computational characterization of hydrothermal systems with chemical-reaction and heat-transfer phenomena. Dr. Hietala also has experience with wind turbine operation and maintenance from previous employment at General Electric. At Exponent, Dr. Hietala has assisted with the investigation of complex industrial fires and explosions.

Dr. Hietala completed his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His thesis focused on developing models for biocrude oil production from microalgae via hydrothermal liquefaction. Dr. Hietala examined the effects of reaction conditions and microalgal characteristics on biocrude oil properties and created a quantitative reaction-kinetics model describing the process. At the University of Michigan, Dr. Hietala collaborated with ecologists, geneticists, and microfluidics engineers to quantify the impact of microalgal biodiversity on process sustainability for biocrude production. Dr. Hietala also has extensive experience with computational software, including Matlab, Mathematica, and Aspen Plus.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2018
  • M.S.E., Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2015
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, 2013, magna cum laude
  • Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Michigan, 2017-2018

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) in accordance with the National Association of Fire Investigators National Certification Board per NFPA 921 Section 13.6.5.2

40-Hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Training

Publications

Cox BL, Hietala DC, Ogle RA. Dust Explosions and Collapsed Ductwork. Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries 2020; In press.

Hietala DC, Savage PE. A molecular, elemental, and multiphase kinetic model for the hydrothermal liquefaction of microalgae. Chemical Engineering Journal 2020; 127007.

Hietala DC, Godwin CM, Cardinale BJ, Savage PE. The individual and synergistic impacts of feedstock characteristics and reaction conditions on the aqueous co-product from hydrothermal liquefaction. Algal Research 2019; 42:101568.

Carruthers DN, Godwin CM, Hietala DC, Cardinale BJ, Lin XN, Savage PE. Biodiversity improves life cycle sustainability metrics in algal biofuel production. Environmental Science & Technology 2019; 53 (15):9279-9288.

Hietala DC, Godwin CM, Cardinale BJ, Savage PE. The independent and coupled effects of feedstock characteristics and reaction conditions on biocrude production by hydrothermal liquefaction. Applied Energy 2019; 235:714-728.

Jackrel SL, Narwani A, Bentlage B, Levine RB, Hietala DC, Savage PE, Oakley TH, Denef VJ, Cardinale BJ. Ecological engineering helps maximize function in algal oil production. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2018; 84 (15) e00953-18.

Godwin CM, Lashaway AR, Hietala DC, Savage PE, Cardinale BJ. Biodiversity improves the ecological design of sustainable biofuel systems. GCB Bioenergy 2018; 1–14.

Hietala DC, Koss CK, Narwani A, Lashaway AR, Godwin CM, Cardinale BJ, Savage PE. Influence of biodiversity, biochemical composition, and species identity on the quality of biomass and biocrude oil produced via hydrothermal liquefaction. Algal Research 2017; 26:203–214.

Godwin CM, Hietala DC, Lashaway AR, Narwani A, Savage PE, Cardinale BJ. Ecological stoichiometry meets ecological engineering: Using algal polycultures to enhance the multifunctionality of algal biocrude systems. Environmental Science & Technology 2017; 51:11450–11458.

Godwin CM, Hietala DC, Lashaway AR, Narwani A, Savage PE, Cardinale BJ. Algal polycultures enhance coproduct recycling from hydrothermal liquefaction. Bioresource Technology 2017; 224:630–638.

Narwani A, Lashaway AR, Hietala DC, Savage PE, Cardinale BJ. Power of plankton: Effects of algal biodiversity on biocrude production and stability. Environmental Science & Technology 2016; 50:13142–13150.

Hietala DC, Faeth JL, Savage PE. A quantitative kinetic model for the fast and isothermal hydrothermal liquefaction of Nannochloropsis sp. Bioresource Technology 2016; 214:102–111.

Hietala DC, Savage PE. Reaction pathways and kinetics of cholesterol in high-temperature water. Chemical Engineering Journal 2015; 265:129–137.

Presentations

Hietala DC, Cox BL, Dee SJ, Morrison DR. Incident Investigation is not Root Cause Analysis. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2020 Spring National Meeting, 16th Global Congress on Process Safety, Houston, TX, August 16-19, 2020.

Cox, BL, Hietala, DC, Ogle RA. Dust Explosions and Collapsed Ductwork. Mary K O’Connor Process Safety Center 22nd Annual International Symposium, College Station, TX, October 22-24, 2019.

Godwin CM, Hietala DC, Lashaway AR, Narwani A, Savage PE, Cardinale BJ. Ecological stoichiometry of algal biocrude production: Polycultures balance tradeoffs in nutrient use efficiency. 2017 ESA Annual Meeting, August 6-11, 2017.

Hietala DC, Koss CK, Narwani A, Lashaway A, Godwin CM, Cardinale BJ, Savage PE. Effects of microalgal polycultures on quality of biomass for biocrude oil production via hydrothermal liquefaction. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2016 Fall National, San Francisco, CA, November 13-18, 2016.

Savage PE, Hietala DC, Sheehan JD. Reaction networks and kinetics for hydrothermal conversion of biomass to biocrude. Abstracts of Papers of the American Chemical Society, 2016; 252.

Hietala DC, Faeth JL, Savage PE. Advances in kinetic modeling of hydrothermal liquefaction of microalgae. American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2015 Fall National Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, November 8-13, 2015.

Prior Experience

Graduate Student Research Assistant, Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, 2013-2018

Software Support Intern, Cipherpoint Software, 2013

Renewable Energy Development Program Intern, G.E. Power and Water, 2012

Professional Affiliations

American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)

National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI)

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

News & Events

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2018
  • M.S.E., Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2015
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, 2013, magna cum laude
  • Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship, University of Michigan, 2017-2018

LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) in accordance with the National Association of Fire Investigators National Certification Board per NFPA 921 Section 13.6.5.2

40-Hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Training