Geothermal Energy Engineer

Golden, CO

Posting Title Geothermal Energy Engineer

Location CO - Golden

Position Type Regular

Hours Per Week 40


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. NREL supports inclusive, diverse, and unbiased hiring practices that promote creativity and innovation. By collaborating with organizations that focus on diverse talent pools, reaching out to underrepresented demographics, and providing an inclusive application and interview process, our Talent Acquisition team aims to hear all voices equally. We strive to attract a highly diverse workforce and create a culture where every employee feels welcomed and respected and they can be their authentic selves. Our planet needs us! Learn about NREL’s critical objectives, and see how NREL is focused on saving the planet.


Note: Research suggests that potential job seekers may self-select out of opportunities if they don't meet 100% of the job requirements. We encourage anyone who is interested in this opportunity to apply. We seek dedicated people who believe they have the skills and ambition to succeed at NREL to apply for this role.


Job Description

The candidate will work with engineers and scientists in the Thermal Energy Science & Technologies Group within NREL’s Energy Conversion & Storage Systems Center. This person will join a growing geothermal research team that includes expertise in geochemistry, geology, drilling engineering, reservoir modeling, and geothermal exploration and development.

The recent GeoVision study, led by the NREL for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Geothermal Technologies Office identified a large untapped opportunity for direct use of geothermal heat in applications such as geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) and district heating/cooling. As noted in NREL’s Geothermal Market Report (NREL/TP-5700-78291, July 2021) such systems are proliferating in Europe and elsewhere around the world but experiencing little deployment in the United States. The successful candidate will work with a team to explore and document opportunities for greater use of GHPs in the United States, especially integrated with commercial or district heating and cooling systems. This work will include collaboration with NREL’s Building Technologies Center and others to understand the energy demand profile and may include use of building and district energy tools developed at NREL, e.g., URBANopt, REopt, Energy Plus, etc. Special focus will be given to understanding and enhancing the performance of the subsurface heat exchange process as a function of system design and local subsurface properties. The successful candidate must demonstrate experience with heat transfer and energy integration modeling.


Responsibilities include thorough and clear documentation of work in detailed technical records; writing, submission, presentation, and publication of peer-reviewed science; maintaining a clean and safe work space and conducting work with integrity and the highest professional standards.


Basic Qualifications

Relevant PhD . Or, relevant Master's Degree and 3 or more years of experience . Or, relevant Bachelor's Degree and 5 or more years of experience .

  • Must meet educational requirements prior to employment start date.


Additional Required Qualifications

  • The candidate must have experience with geothermal, aka ground-source, heat-pump systems for heating and cooling and experience in district energy modeling and analysis. Documented experience with techno-economic analysis of such geothermal or related energy systems is required.
  • The candidate must demonstrate a record of independent research addressing shallow geothermal and district-energy challenges.
  • Programming competency with Python or MATLAB is required.
  • Demonstrated excellent interpersonal, communication, writing and documentation skills are required. This position requires creativity, innovation, and adaptability.


Preferred Qualifications

  • Hands on experience with design, installation, or operations of ground-source heat pumps and/or district heating and cooling systems.
  • Experience with modeling of heat pumps, shallow geothermal boreholes, direct geothermal systems, buildings thermal demand, absorption chillers, and district heating or cooling systems is a plus. Experience with software such as TRNSYS, EnergyPlus, IPSEpro, AspenPlus, Hysys, GLHEpro, HyGCHP or GLD software is a plus.
  • Understanding the significant impact of heating and cooling on the U.S. primary energy demand, and U.S. greenhouse gas emissions is a plus.


.Job Application Submission Window

The anticipated closing window for application submission is up to 30 days and may be extended as needed.

Annual Salary Range (based on full-time 40 hours per week) Job Profile: Researcher III / Annual Salary Range: $79,600 - $143,300 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*- and long-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; paid holidays; and tuition reimbursement*. 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. Limited-term positions are not eligible for long-term disability or tuition reimbursement.

  • Based on eligibility rules

Drug Free Workplace 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. EEO is the Law | Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination | Reasonable Accommodations E-Verify www.dhs.gov/E-Verify For information about right to work, click here for English or here for Spanish. E-Verify is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This business uses E-Verify in its hiring practices to achieve a lawful workforce.

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