NREL Postdoctoral Researcher - Thermal Storage Components for Buildings in Golden, Colorado

Posting Title

Postdoctoral Researcher - Thermal Storage Components for Buildings



CO - Golden


Position Type

Postdoc (Fixed Term)


Hours Per Week



Job Summary

NREL's Building Energy Sciences group has an opening for a post-doctoral position on design and testing of thermal energy storage components for buildings applications. The successful candidate will join team members on cutting-edge laboratory and analytical projects to synthesize, develop, characterize, and evaluate materials and components for low temperature thermal energy storage systems to be integrated in buildings components and applications.

The successful candidate should have a strong background and understanding of fundamental heat transfer, components design and comprehension of thermal components behavior at the micro and macro levels. Working with partners, the postdoc will optimize the design, construction, setup and testing of the thermal storage component for integration at the buildings macro level.

The key duties of this position include:

  • Design thermal storage components with an emphasis on optimization of heat transfer for buildings applications such as envelopes, HVAC systems

  • Improve, develop, and use first-principles numerical modeling tools of thermal storage in materials, composites, components and systems

  • Construct, setup and perform laboratory experiments for component’s model validation

  • Perform design of improved component for its integration into buildings applications

  • Optimize test setups, and characterization tools for reliable data collection

  • Collaborate with materials scientists, experimentalists and modeling teams

  • Collaborate in the development of research proposals and new scientific initiatives

  • Write regular progress reports, publish journal papers in both fundamental science journals and applied technology journals, and present at conferences

  • Participate in professional scientific activities, e.g., reviews of papers, research proposals, etc.

Desired Qualifications

  • Recent Ph.D. degree, within the last three years, in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Physics, or related field

  • Hands-on experience in thermal device design and testing

  • Strong experience in instrumentation development combining hardware and algorithms

  • The ability to work independently with minimal guidance and mentorship with a high level of scientific judgment and initiative

  • Demonstrated ability to participate in collaborative efforts as a member of a diverse research team

  • Strong understanding of heat transfer, particular modeling at multiple scales and including convection, conduction, and contact resistances

  • Experience with building applications / building science, likely on thermal envelopes and/or HVAC for building applications

  • Experience measuring integrated materials and components in ‘real’ environments for comparison to developed models for optimization

  • Demonstrated communication skills including experience and ability to communicate research results through written papers and oral presentations, the ability to effectively represent a program, and the ability to present research work to academic, industry, and governmental audiences

  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a large dynamic team environment with evolving requirements, schedules, and time constraining milestones towards meeting ambitious goals

  • Leadership skills, including demonstrated ability to successfully lead projects

  • Strong technical publication record in peer reviewed journals

  • Familiarity with and commitment to security, health, and safety (ES&H) systems


Required Education, Experience, and Skills

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


Preferred Qualifications

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience with experimental heat transfer

  • Numerical modeling of heat transfer

  • Experimental or theoretical/modeling research on solid-solid and/or solid-liquid phase transformations, thermal switches, etc.

  • Experience with thermal management (e.g., for power electronics, batteries, etc.)

  • Experience programming in Engineering Equation Solver (EES), Matlab, and/or Modelica

  • Experience programming in C, Python, VBA

  • Knowledge and expertise in buildings system applications

  • Research experience in renewable energy technology

  • Experience with universities and state and local government agencies

  • Demonstrated ability to work independently


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