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Postdoctoral Researcher –Plastics Upcycling with Homogenous Catalysis

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.

The Renewable Resources and Enabling Sciences Center within Bioenergy Science & Technology research directorate is a talented team of scientists and technicians working in biological, chemical, and catalytic research approaches to renewable energy and materials for a circular economy. The center has strong thrusts in polymer design and upcycling, separations, synthetic biology and bioconversion, analytical sciences, computational modeling, and lignocellulosic chemistry and catalysis.
Our group is conducting research to investigate the catalytic depolymerization and upgrading of waste plastics to value-added commodity and fine chemicals. Our team brings together a wide range of technical expertise and global experience unified by a passionate drive to increase the technoeconomic feasibility of a circular economy for energy materials.  This position focuses on research and development of homogeneous chemical catalysts for plastics upcycling. This will involve the synthesis, testing, and characterization of organometallic catalysts for the cleavage of C–C bonds in commodity polymers.  Candidates will collaborate with a large, multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional team.   The initial appointment is for one year, with possible renewal up to three years.
The successful candidate will be able to:

  • Work safely and independently in a laboratory setting
  • Learn new techniques and protocols
  • Plan and execute research in collaboration with other researchers
  • Perform plastic depolymerization catalysis, reaction engineering, and catalyst and process design
  • Communicate scientific results effectively, both in written and oral formats
  • Author peer-reviewed publications, and
  • Work effectively in a large, multidisciplinary team of engineers and chemists.

Basic Qualifications

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

Additional Required Qualifications

  • Troubleshooting and problem-solving skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to deliver high-quality results within aggressive timelines
  • Strong record of quality peer-reviewed publications
  • Strong safety record and ability to follow complex standard operating procedures
  • PhD degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, or related field