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Job Description

Position Summary

A post-doctorate position is available in the Thermal Sciences Group of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Electricity. NREL is the nation's primary laboratory for research, development, and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. This position will support research and development conducted at NREL. The candidate will work with other engineers and scientists in the Thermal Sciences Group, within the Buildings & Thermal Sciences Center, to support ongoing research on solar fuel and renewable hydrogen production.

General Duties and Responsibilities

Job duties include developing and applying computational tools, such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD), Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Python or MatLab, and using commercial or open-source codes, for analyzing solar fuels and hydrogen production by thermochemical or electrochemical processes. The candidate will contribute to the design, analyses, and verification of the thermochemical and electrochemical component and system. The researcher is expected to document work/results in reports, presentations, conferences, archival journal papers, as well as to interact with NREL partners in industry, academia, and national laboratories.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conduct research in the solar thermochemical process including hydrogen and fuel productions to support the next-generation renewable fuel development.
  • Work closely with NREL staff and other stakeholders to assist in the component design, analysis, development, and validation of advanced water-splitting technologies by modeling and experiment.
  • Develop an electrochemical model for hydrogen production through electrolysis processes, including proton-exchange membrane electrolysis cell (PEMEC) and solid-oxide electrolyte cell (SOEC).
  • Pursue state-of-the-art research in carbon-dioxide electrolysis cell modeling and analysis for liquid fuel and material from renewable sources.
  • Develop engineering models, component design and optimization and determine the most efficient materials, operations, and processes with techno-economic analysis. Lead the system optimization for future lab-scale and pilot demonstration.
  • Assist in project management including report writings, paper publications, and presentations in program review or conferences.

Desired Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

The researcher has the opportunity to involve in in-depth and multifaceted disciplines in chemical, mechanical, and solar energy engineering. The candidate should have course works in thermal/fluid, chemical/electrochemical theories, and demonstrated expertise in the area of transport phenomena, thermal-fluid, and electrochemical modeling.

  • Experience with computational tools for heat transfer, fluid dynamics, and mechanics analyses. Familiar with ANSYS Fluent and Mechanical software. Ability to program Fluent User Defined Functions (UDF) and Journal files is beneficial.
  • Coursework in thermodynamics, chemical and electrochemical theories, and energy system modeling, and the ability to formulate and solve engineering problems.
  • Knowledge on concentrating solar power, solar fuel, hydrogen, and electrochemical systems such as fuel cells or electrolyzer is desirable.
  • Demonstrated research capability and creativity to solve challenging problems, as well as the ability to work well in a team.

Additional Qualifications

Candidate should have a strong aptitude to learn and explore the field needed for development, to be motivated and dedicated, and to deliver research results on time and on budget.

  • Capable of computer programming with software tools such as C, C++, Python, Microsoft Visual Studio, and Matlab.
  • Knowledge and experience on the following analysis tools will be helpful: COMSOL, Modelica, EES, or ASPEN software.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, documentation skills, oral and writing proficiency in English.

We would not expect a candidate holding all the skills listed above but illustrate the opportunity for learning and professional growth potential. We are looking for a motivated, quick learning, and self-starting Ph.D. graduate joining the team to develop next-generation renewable-energy technology.


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.