Michael Orella, Ph.D.

Associate
Thermal Sciences
Natick
  • CV (English)
  • Contact Card

Dr. Orella is a chemical engineer in Exponent’s Thermal Science Practice with a background in chemical reaction kinetics, thermodynamics, and mass-transfer; electrocatalysis; and process modeling. He specializes in the rigorous computational analysis of complex chemical-engineering systems with a focus on process safety and efficiency. Previously, Dr. Orella has worked deeply with electrolytic devices and reaction systems involving lignin and other biomass-based compounds.

During his Ph.D. work at MIT, Dr. Orella developed Python and MATLAB models in a number of critical sustainable fields. First, he utilized concepts from stochastic chemical kinetics to implement a Gillespie-based kinetic Monte Carlo analysis of lignin biosynthesis. Next, he worked to automate image analysis for surface characterization techniques in electrocatalytic devices so that high-throughput analysis of potential electrode materials could readily be classified. Dr. Orella then implemented statistical inference techniques to investigate the electrochemical kinetics present in carbon dioxide reduction processing. Dr. Orella has also developed and executed methods for techno-economic analysis of industrial electrochemical processes.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2020
  • M.S., Chemical Engineering Practice, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2016
  • B.Ch.E., Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware, 2014

Publications

Orella MJ, Brown SM, Leonard ME, Román-Leshkov Y, Brushett FR. A General Techno-Economic Model for Evaluating Emerging Electrolytic Processes. Energy Technology 2019; doi:10.1002/ente.201900994.

Orella MJ, Gani TZH, Vermaas JV, Stone ML, Anderson EM, Beckham GT, Brushett FR, Román-Leshkov Y. Lignin-KMC: A Toolkit for Simulating Lignin Biosynthesis. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2019; 7:18313-18322.

Gani TZH, Orella MJ, Anderson EM, Stone ML, Brushett FR, Beckham GT, Román-Leshkov Y. Computational Evidence for Kinetically Controlled Radical Coupling During Lignification. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2019; 7: 13270-13277.

Orella MJ, Román-Leshkov Y, Brushett FR. Emerging Opportunities for Electrochemical Processing to Enable Sustainable Chemical Manufacturing. Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering 2018; 20: 159-167.

Tsilomelekis G, Orella MJ, Lin Z, Cheng Z, Zheng W, Nikolakis V, Vlachos DG. Molecular Structure, Morphology and Growth Mechanisms and Rates of 5-Hydroxymethyl Furfural (HMF) Derived Humins. Green Chemistry 2016; 18: 1983-1993.

Presentations

Orella MJ, Román-Leshkov Y, Brushett FR. Assessing the Feasibility of Conceptual Electrocatalytic Processes through Inverse Techno-Economic Modeling. AIChE Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL, 2019.

Orella MJ, Román-Leshkov Y, Brushett FR. Cost-Constrained Design of Electrochemical Hydrogenation Processes. 236th Electrochemical Society National Meeting, Atlanta, GA, 2019.

Orella MJ, Gani TZH, Vermaas JV, Stone ML, Anderson EM, Brushett FR, Román-Leshkov Y. Lignin-KMC: A Simulation of in planta Lignification. Poster presentation, Center for Bioenergy Innovation Annual Meeting, Asheville, NC, 2019.

Orella MJ, Gani TZH, Stone ML, Anderson EM, Brushett FR, Román-Leshkov Y. Lignin-KMC: An Open-Source Platform for Simulating Lignification. ACS Spring National Meeting, Orlando, FL, 2019.

Orella MJ, Brown SM, Román-Leshkov Y, Brushett FR. Evaluating the Economic Feasibility of Valorizing Lignocellulosic Biomass through Electrochemical Hydrogenation, AIChE Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, 2018.

Orella MJ, Gani TZH, Anderson EM, Stone ML, Brushett FR, Román-Leshkov Y. Developing Platforms for Understanding Lignin Polymerization and Fractionation. Poster presentation, Lignin Gordon Research Conference, Easton, MA, 2018.

Orella MJ, Brown SM, Román-Leshkov Y, Brushett FR. Towards a Generalized Framework for Quantifying the Economic Viability of Electrocatalytic Hydrogenation. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Division Graduate Symposium in the ACS Fall National Meeting, Boston, MA, 2018.

Orella MJ, Brown SM, Román-Leshkov Y, Brushett FR. Understanding the Economic Feasibility of Valorizing Lignocellulosic Biomass Through Electrochemical Hydrogenation. 232nd Electrochemical Society National Meeting, National Harbor, MD, 2017.

Professional Affiliations

American Institute of Chemical Engineers-AIChE (Member)

American Chemical Society-ACS (Member)

Electrochemical Society-ECS (Member)

Additional Information

Peer Reviewer

ChemSusChem

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2020
  • M.S., Chemical Engineering Practice, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2016
  • B.Ch.E., Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware, 2014