3-5 years of experience
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Employment Type:
Full time
Job Category:
Postdoctoral Position in Power-Cycle and Thermal-System Modeling
(This job is no longer available)
Grad Date

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Job Description

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the world’s leading research and development laboratory for renewable energy technologies, is seeking to hire a post- doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering or a closely related field of study. The candidate will work with other engineers and scientists in the Thermal Sciences Group within the Buildings & Thermal Sciences Center. The primary responsibility will be conducting research and development activities in support of the Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Program. See www.nrel.gov/csp. The candidate will join a team of engineers and scientists studying the potential of novel power-cycle configurations for high-temperature CSP applications. Work carried out will support research and development activities within the CSP Program that are conducted internally at NREL and externally by industry and university participants. The candidate will work under direct supervision on assigned activities.


This position requires basic knowledge of thermodynamic power cycles, such as Rankine and Brayton cycles, for the generation of electric power. Basic work responsibilities will include developing simulation models for thermo-electric power cycles and integrating these models with subsystems unique to CSP systems. These include thermal energy storage and solar-collector/receiver subsystems. Emphasis will be placed on understanding and optimizing the performance of power generation and cycle-cooling systems in the face of varying ambient conditions. The exploration of the combination of solar-thermal systems hybridized with alternative power systems or water desalination technologies is also planned.

The successful candidate will work with the development team of NREL’s System Advisor Model (SAM, https://sam.nrel.gov/) to expand the capabilities of CSP simulations within this software tool. SAM is a system performance and financial model used worldwide to facilitate decision making for people involved in the renewable energy industry.

Assumed responsibilities include close attention to documenting work in detailed technical records, maintaining clean and safe work conditions, conducting work with the highest professional standards, publishing peer-reviewed papers in high-impact journals, and presenting research results in technical forums.


Position requires a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering or closely related field of study. Demonstrated experience in thermal-system simulation and modeling is required, including knowledge of programming languages such as C++, MATLAB, Python, Visual Basic, and Engineering Equation Solver (EES). Proficiency with computer-aided design systems such as ANSYS and SolidWorks is preferred.

The successful candidate will have a track record of research and publications in thermal-system modeling and system optimization. Modeling experience with high-temperature power and energy-storage systems is desired. Knowledge of phase-change and thermochemical energy-storage technologies is beneficial, as is familiarity with properties and performance characteristics of supercritical carbon dioxide power/refrigeration cycles.

The candidate must demonstrate a research capability to solve challenging problems, have excellent interpersonal, communication, writing, and documentation skills. This position requires creativity, innovation, and adaptability.


Required Education, Experience, and Skills

Must be a recent PhD graduate within the last three years.


Preferred Qualifications


Submission Guidelines

Please note that in order to be considered an applicant for any position at NREL you must submit an application form for each position for which you believe you are qualified. Applications are not kept on file for future positions. Please include a cover letter and resume with each position application.


EEO Policy

NREL is dedicated to the principles of equal employment opportunity. NREL promotes a work environment that does not discriminate against workers or job applicants and prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, marital status, ancestry, actual or perceived sexual orientation, or veteran status, including special disabled veterans.

NREL validates right to work using E-Verify. NREL will provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) and, if necessary, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with information from each new employee’s Form I-9 to confirm work authorization. For additional information, click here.

About National Renewable Energy Laboratory

At NREL, we focus on creative answers to today's energy challenges. From breakthroughs in fundamental science to new clean technologies to integrated energy systems that power our lives, NREL researchers are transforming the way the nation and the world use energy.