Postdoctoral Researcher Geothermal Science/Engineering

National Renewable Energy Lab
Golden, MD
United States
Job Description

Posting Title

Postdoctoral Researcher Geothermal Science/Engineering



CO - Golden


Position Type

Postdoc (Fixed Term)


Hours Per Week



Working at NREL

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, Colorado is the nation's primary laboratory for research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

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 ten employee resource groups, numerous employee-driven clubs, and learning and professional development classes.

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Job Description

This position performs geoscientific, geospatial, technology, and techno-economic analysis, with an emphasis on geothermal energy systems and infrastructure. Work carried out will support R&D and decision-maker support activities within the NREL geothermal program using analysis methodologies such as geologic/geophysical/geochemical data processing and modeling, geothermal resource assessment, and subsurface/reservoir characterization.


The researcher will work on various projects designing and analyzing performance and feasibility of geothermal systems, including for heating and cooling applications as well as electricity production. Tasks include modeling the subsurface heat transfer, surface plant operation, and overall economics of the system. Subsurface systems considered include hydrothermal, enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), deep closed-loop systems as well as shallow borehole fields.


The researcher will likely utilize various NREL software tools such as dGeo, GEOPHIRES, SAM, SBT, and GHEDesigner as well as third-party open-source and commercial software (e.g., TOUGH family of codes, ResFrac, etc.) for modeling the geothermal systems. For some projects, the analysis may require Python coding to implement updates to these tools. The researcher will document results in publications (including peer-reviewed journals) and present results at geothermal conferences.


This person will participate with senior staff to conceive and propose new research concepts and projects related to geothermal energy, and work with senior staff to develop collaborative internal and external relationships.


The position requires documenting work for internal communication and external publication, e.g., writing and publishing analysis results in peer-reviewed journals and presenting at national and international forums. The successful candidate will represent NREL's research and analysis at technical, business, and stakeholder events.


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

In addition, the successful candidate must have demonstrated ability/experience in the following areas:

  • Geophysics/geology/rock physics
  • Resource exploration and characterization; exploration methods and drilling
  • Geophysical theory, methods, data processing, and/or inversion
  • ArcGIS or other GIS software
  • Data analytics using spreadsheets, data visualization, etc. to analyze data and make conclusions.
  • Subsurface data processing, modeling and interpretation.
  • 3D geological modeling environments, such as Leapfrog
  • Thermal-hydraulic-mechanical-chemical (THMC) reservoir modeling, or subsets thereof, using simulators such as CMG STARS, FALCON, Volsung, GOHFER, Resfrac, TOUGH family of codes, OpenGeoSys.
  • General data processing and analysis software, such as Python or MATLAB.
  • Effective and concise communication both in writing and speaking; to disseminate research results through technical talks and through publications, as demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Preferred Qualifications

·        Familiarity with the U.S. and international geothermal energy sector

·        Field work with geothermal systems

·        Publications in peer-reviewed journals

·        Knowledge of U.S. DOE geothermal research

·        Familiarity with use of high-performance computing for complex simulations.


Annual Salary Range (based on full-time 40 hours per week)

Job Profile: Postdoctoral Researcher / Annual Salary Range: $71,300 - $117,600

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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NREL is committed to maintaining a drug-free workplace in accordance with the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act and complies with federal laws prohibiting the possession and use of illegal drugs. Under federal law, marijuana remains an illegal drug.

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.

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 an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard basis of age (40 and over), color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, domestic partner status, military or veteran status, national origin/ancestry, race, religion, creed, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding), sexual orientation, and any other applicable status protected by federal, state, or local laws.

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