Postdoctoral Research Associate- Thermal Energy Storage Group

Date: May 15, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11120 


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.


The Thermal Energy Storage Group in the Buildings and Transportation Science Division (BTSD), Energy Science and Technology Directorate (ESTD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is seeking qualified candidates to fill the Postdoctoral Research Associate position. 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 successful candidate will be responsible for conducting, coordinating, and reporting complex research assignments related to energy conversion systems including:
  1. Working fluids and thermodynamic cycles for advanced vapor compression refrigeration systems, including:
    1. Integrated heat pump systems with multiple sources and multiple functions for improved energy efficiency and grid-interactivity
    2. Geothermal (ground source) heat pump
  2. Thermal energy storage materials and applications
  3. Advanced heat exchanger design and optimization
  4. Novel non-vapor compression heat pump and dehumidification systems
  5. HVAC&R system design and performance evaluation
  • 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.
  • Deliver ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Required Qualifications:

  • The successful candidate must have a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, or a related field completed within the last 5 years.
  • The candidate should excel in innovative thinking and problem solving, and possess (a) strong background and experience in thermodynamic cycle modeling, (b) detailed experience with the design, instrumentation, and operation of experimental thermal/fluid systems, (c) good knowledge of fluid dynamics and heat and mass transfer, (d) familiarity with vapor compression refrigeration systems and sorption-based dehumidification, cooling, and heat pumping systems, and (e) knowledge of various mechanical systems and instrumentation.
  • Strong communication (written and verbal) and interpersonal skills are required.
  • The successful candidate should have a proven publication/patent record.


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.


For more information, please contact Dr. Xiaobing Liu (


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.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via
  • View Profile
  • 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.


Moving can be overwhelming and expensive. UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process. Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions. If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.


Benefits at ORNL:  

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain talented people. The laboratory offers many employee benefits, including medical and retirement plans and flexible work hours, to help you and your family live happy and healthy. Employee amenities such as on-site fitness, banking, and cafeteria facilities are also provided for convenience.


Other benefits include: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Life Insurance, Pet Insurance, Generous Vacation and Holidays, Parental Leave, Legal Insurance with Identity Theft Protection, Employee Assistance Plan, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, Wellness Programs, Educational Assistance, Relocation Assistance, and Employee Discounts.



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.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville