Mitch Withers

EducationMitch Withers

  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, summa cum laude, Brigham Young University, 2012
  • M.S., Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2014

Fields: Alternative Fuels; Liquefied Natural Gas; Life-cycle Assessment; Cost-Benefit Analysis

Lab Role: Research Assistant

Email: withers@mit.edu

I got my first taste of research while working toward my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at BYU. I studied wildfire propagation characteristics and developed models for flame propagation through foliage. Later, I helped measure H/CO conversion rates from biomass (corn stover) gasification. After graduation, I interned with an energy consulting firm and worked on projects related to gasification of coal and petroleum coke.

Here at LAE, I study the environmental and economic consequences of alternative jet fuel pathways. Jet fuel can be produced from a variety of feedstocks (lignocellulosic biomass, oily crops, algae, natural gas, coal, crude oil, etc.) and processing techniques (gasification, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, pyrolysis, liquefaction, hydroprocessing, etc.). My work seeks to quantify the major societal impacts, including climate damage and human health effects related to air quality degradation, of several feedstock-to-fuel pathways. I integrate this information with production cost data and fuel prices to determine the overall societal benefit (or burden) of alternative fuels.

I grew up in Portland, Oregon. After my freshman year at BYU, I walked the streets of Peru for two years as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 2010, I married my sweetheart, and we now have two kids, both boys. When I’m not chasing them around, I enjoy writing programs for apps and websites.

 

Publications

“Economic and environmental assessment of liquefied natural gas as a supplemental aircraft fuel,” Withers, M.R., Malina, R., Gilmore, C.K., Gibbs, J.M., Trigg, C., Wolfe, P.J., Trivedi, P., Barrett S.R.H., Progress in Aerospace Sciences 66, pp.17-36, 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.paerosci.2013.12.002