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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Buildings Equipment Research

Requisition Id 8750 
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.
We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Building Equipment Research Group in the Building and Transportation Science Division (BTSD), Energy Science and Technology Directorate (ESTD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  The work in this group supports the U.S. DOE Building Technology Office, Geothermal Technology Office, and other customers by developing state-of-the-art building equipment for energy efficiency, equipment-to-grid integration, and improved life cycle climate performance.
Major Duties/Responsibilities: 
The candidate will be involved in developing experimental setups, conducting experimental campaigns, performing thermodynamic analyses and system modeling, analyzing results, preparing technical documents and peer-reviewed research publications, and presenting and defending work to project sponsors and other stakeholders. The work will involve interacting and collaborating with researchers from universities, national laboratories, and private industry.
The successful candidate will be responsible for conducting, coordinating, and reporting complex research assignments related to energy conversion systems including:
  • Working fluids and thermodynamic cycles for advanced vapor compression refrigeration systems, such as:
  • Cold climate heat pump
  • Geothermal (ground source) heat pump
  • Integrated heat pump systems with multiple sources and multiple functions for improved energy efficiency and grid-interactivity
  • Thermal energy storage materials and applications
  • Advanced heat exchanger design and optimization
  • Novel non-vapor compression heat pump systems
  • HVAC&R system design and performance evaluation
Basic Qualifications:
  • A PhD in Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, or a related field completed within the last 5 years
  • Excel in innovative thinking and problem solving, and possess
  • Strong background and experience in thermodynamic cycle modeling
  • Detailed experience with the design, instrumentation, and operation of experimental thermal/fluid systems
  • Good knowledge of fluid dynamics and heat and mass transfer
  • Familiarity with vapor compression refrigeration systems and sorption-based dehumidification, cooling, and heat pumping systems
  • Knowledge of various mechanical systems and instrumentation
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Experience with both experimental prototype development and a variety of engineering modeling software is a plus
  • Experience in developing new ideas and proposal writing is a plus
  •  Experience with heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system design is preferred
  • Strong communication (written and verbal) and interpersonal skills are required
  • Strong background in project management with a proven publication/patent record
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs
For more information, please contact Brian Fricke (
Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You can upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.
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  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document
Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.
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This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.
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