Postdoctoral Researcher- Geothermal Engineer

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Posting Title
Postdoctoral Researcher- Geothermal Engineer
AK - Fairbanks
Position Type
Postdoc (Fixed Term)
Hours Per Week
Working at NREL
NREL’s Alaska Campus in Fairbanks, Alaska is one of the farthest-north LEED Platinum buildings in the world. Using a mix of solar, geothermal, biomass, and thermal storage, it is a living laboratory for clean energy technologies in the subarctic. NREL's Alaska Campus is in the heart of Interior Alaska, surrounded by mountains, trails, and rivers, as well as vibrant music, culture, and community. With 22 hours of sunlight in the summer and cold, snowy winters, Fairbanks is an outdoor-lovers' paradise.
From day one at NREL, you’ll connect with coworkers driven by the same mission to save the planet. By joining an organization that values a supportive, inclusive, and flexible work environment, you’ll have the opportunity to engage through our eight employee resource groups, numerous employee-driven clubs, and learning and professional development classes.
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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, Washington D.C., and Alaska, NREL is the primary laboratory for research, development, and deployment of energy-efficient and 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.
NREL is seeking to hire a post-doctoral position focusing on modeling and experimental heat and mass transfer applied to HVAC systems and buildings for its Applied Research for Communities in Extreme Environments team at the NREL Alaska Campus. Located in the heart of Interior Alaska, Fairbanks is surrounded by mountains, trails, and rivers, as well as vibrant music, culture, and community. With 22 hours of sunlight in the summer and cold, snowy winters, Fairbanks is an outdoor lovers' paradise. The Applied Research for Communities in Extreme Environments Team is housed in the farthest-north LEED Platinum building in the world, a living laboratory for solar, geothermal, biomass, thermal storage, and energy efficient technologies.
The successful candidate will join team members on cutting-edge laboratory and analytical projects to research, develop, and evaluate heat and mass transfer components and systems. This includes both conventional and innovative HVAC solutions, thermal storage mechanisms, and various building energy systems. A strong foundation in heat and mass transfer principles, encompassing theory, numerical modeling, and experimental proficiency, is a fundamental requirement for this role.
Under the general direction of senior staff, the successful candidate will:
  • Improve, develop, and use first-principles numerical modeling tools of heat and mass exchangers and other thermal components and systems for building envelopes and HVAC systems such as heat pumps
  • Develop, design, and analyze new HVAC processes and components
  • Perform laboratory experiments on materials and fluid/thermal components at NREL’s laboratories
  • Develop and deploy instrumentation and data collection plans
  • Publish papers in heat and mass transfer, energy, or other similar journals
Basic Qualifications
Must be a recent PhD graduate within the last three years.
  • Must meet educational requirements prior to employment start date.
Additional Required Qualifications
  • Mechanical engineering, or relevant dissertation research in other engineering or science field
  • Strong academic and research record in relevant heat transfer, thermodynamics, or mass transfer field with emphasis on both modeling and experimental research
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills (oral and written) and demonstrated ability to work independently
  • Experience programming in Matlab, Python, or similar tools
  • Demonstrated experience in some or all of the following:
    • Heat and mass transfer fundamentals
    • HVAC fundamentals or refrigeration cycles (vapor compression and non-vapor compression)
    • Numerical modeling techniques and computer programming
    • Ground-coupled heat pumps and subsurface thermodynamics
Preferred Qualifications
Annual Salary Range (based on full-time 40 hours per week)
Job Profile: Postdoctoral Researcher CCHRC / Annual Salary Range: $64,100 - $105,900
NREL takes into consideration a candidate’s education, training, and experience, expected quality and quantity of work, required travel (if any), external market and internal value, including seniority and merit systems, and internal pay alignment when determining the salary level for potential new employees. In compliance with the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, a potential new employee’s salary history will not be used in compensation decisions.
Benefits Summary
Benefits include medical, dental, and vision insurance; short-term disability insurance*; pension benefits*; 403(b) Employee Savings Plan with employer match*; life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance; personal time off (PTO) and sick leave; and paid holidays. NREL employees may be eligible for, but are not guaranteed, performance-, merit-, and achievement- based awards that include a monetary component. Some positions may be eligible for relocation expense reimbursement.
  • Based on eligibility rules
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If you are offered employment at NREL, you must pass a pre-employment drug test prior to commencing employment. Unless prohibited by state or local law, the pre-employment drug test will include marijuana. If you test positive on the pre-employment drug test, your offer of employment may be withdrawn.
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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.
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