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Postdoctoral Researcher – Algal Conversion Analysis
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Job Description

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a leader in the U.S. Department of Energy’s effort to secure an energy future that is both environmentally and economically sustainable. With locations in Golden, Boulder and Washington D.C., NREL is the primary laboratory for research, development and deployment of renewable energy technologies in the United States. The NREL mission is to develop renewable energy and energy efficient technologies and practices, advance related science and engineering, and transfer knowledge and innovation to address the nation’s energy and environmental goals.

The National Bioenergy Center at NREL has an opening for a Postdoctoral researcher in the area of techno-economic analysis for algal biomass and related conversion processes. Primary responsibilities include the development of conceptual process designs for economic and sustainability analyses of processes of research interest.

Job Duties

The selected candidate will work on the development of conceptual process models in Aspen Plus for the conversion of algal biomass, focusing on understanding the current cost for algal biofuels production and using that information to identify and develop cost reduction strategies. Our analysis includes the entire production and conversion trains including: productivity, seasonal variations, production of intermediates, upgrading to biofuels and bioproducts, as well as waste stream handling and nutrient recycle. This position will involve working with researchers from diverse backgrounds to understand the details of ongoing and future research and helping model the potential commercial-scale impacts of research outcomes. Work products will include technical reports, journal articles and presentations. It is expected that the delivered work will be of superior quality and will sometimes need to be performed under aggressive timelines. Other aspects of the work will include, but will not be limited to literature reviews, comparing compatibility of products, and the development of sustainability metrics for the conversion processes being studied.

Desired Education and Experience

PhD in Chemical Engineering or related fields with process modeling background. Algal conversion background or the ability to understand and model such processes based on related experience will be necessary.

Additional Desired Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Experience with use and application of engineering principles, theories and concepts for mathematical modeling; strong oral and written communication skills; ability to work independently; attention to detail and demonstration of rigor in work products. Experience with Aspen Plus modeling, Excel (with VBA). The candidate should be able to work under tight deadlines when the situation demands and be a team player. It will be helpful to show evidence of working on projects where external information is assimilated into work products, being resourceful at finding that information, and being able to present the information in a professional and thoughtful manner.


Required Education, Experience, and Skills

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


Preferred Qualifications

Use of multiple process simulation tools, cost estimation tools, lifecycle analysis software; understanding of petroleum refinery processes such as hydroprocessing; strong understanding of thermodynamics to help model new conceptual processes; programming in a language such as Fortran.


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.