Matthew N. Pearlson


  • S.M. in Technology & Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011 (Advisor: Dr. James Hileman)
  • B.Sc., Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2007

Fields:  Alternative Fuels, Energy & Environmental Policy

Lab Role: Research Specialist


I am a research specialist in the Laboratory for Aviation and the Environment (LAE) at MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. A chemical engineer by training, my research focuses on the technical and economic production (“techno-economics”) of alternative jet fuels using cash-flow analysis.

I was the first to publish on the impact of product-slate choices for HEFA fuel production on the economic feasibility of renewable jet fuel from this pathway. My work in this field has been used by the US EPA for their rule making on HEFA fuels under the Renewable Fuels Standard, and has provided significant guidance to other agencies such as FAA, DOE, and DOD about the economics of alternative aviation fuels.

I am originally from Miami Beach, Florida. Prior to joining the LAE, I worked at Infineum Corporation formulating crankcase oils for passenger cars, and Microsoft Corporation as a software development engineering in test. I currently serve as the Social Operations Officer (SOO) for the LAE.


Selected Publications

“Environmental and economic assessment of producing hydroprocessed jet and diesel fuel from waste oils and tallow,” Seber, G., Malina, R., Pearlson, M., Olcay, H., Hileman, J., Barrett, S., Biomass and Bioenergy 67, pp. 108-118, 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2014.04.024

“Lifecycle greenhouse gas footprint and minimum selling price of renewable diesel and jet fuel from advanced fermentation production technologies,” Staples, M.D., Malina, R., Olcay, H., Pearlson, M.N., Hileman, J.I., Boies, A., Barrett, S.R.H., Energy and Environmental Science 7, pp. 1545-1554, 2014. DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43655A

“A techno‐economic review of hydroprocessed renewable esters and fatty acids for jet fuel production,” Pearlson, M., Wollersheim, C., Hileman, J., Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining 7 (1), pp. 89-96, 2013. DOI: 10.1002/bbb.1378

“Water consumption footprint and land requirements of large-scale alternative diesel and jet fuel production,“ Staples, M., Olcay, H., Malina, R., Trivedi, P., Pearlson, M., Strzepek, K., Paltsev, S., Wollersheim, C., Barrett, S., Environmental Science and Technology 47 (21), pp. 12557-12565, 2013. DOI: 10.1021/es4030782

“Environmental performance of algal biofuel technology options,” Vasudevan, V., Stratton, R., Pearlson, M., Jersey, G., Beyene, A., Weissman, J., Rubino, M., Hileman, J., Environmental Science and Technology 46 (4), pp. 2451–2459, 2012. DOI: 10.1021/es2026399

“Public health, climate and economic impacts of desulfurizing jet fuel,” Barrett, S., Yim, S., Gilmore, C. , Murray, L., Kuhn, S., Tai, A., Yantosca, R., Byun, S., Ngan, F., Li, X., Levy, J. , Ashok, A., Koo, J., Wong, H., Dessens, O., Balasubramanian, S., Fleming, G., Pearlson, M., Wollersheim, C., Malina, R., Arunachalam, S., Binkowski, F., Leibensperger, E.M., Jacob, D., Hileman, J., Waitz, I., Environmental Science and Technology 46 (8), pp. 4275-4282, 2012. DOI: 10.1021/es203325a