R&D Associate, Thermal Energy Storage Research Group

Date: Apr 12, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 9940 



The Thermal Energy Storage Research Group in the Buildings and Transportation Science Division (BTSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is seeking qualified candidates to fill a researcher position. The work in this group supports the U.S. DOE Building 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:

You will be responsible for conducting, coordinating, and reporting complex research assignments related to energy conversion systems including (1) phase change material characterization and synthesis, (2) integration of thermal energy storage with HVAC equipment, (3) heat exchanger design and associated disciplines (heat transfer, fluid flow, and coupled heat and mass transfer), (4) other advanced building equipment including appliances, (5) control of building equipment, (6) low-temperature geothermal energy, and (7) other technologies relevant to developing future building equipment that is efficient and grid-interactive. This will involve the design, fabrication, measurement, analysis, and modeling of novel HVAC&R systems and components.


The work will involve developing experimental setups, problem-solving, conducting experimental campaigns, performing thermodynamic analysis and system modeling, analyzing results, and preparing technical documents and research publications. The work will also involve interacting and collaborating with researchers from universities, national laboratories, and private industry.


You will 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.


Basic Qualifications:

  • M.S. or Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science/Engineering, or a related field
  • Research and/or field experience with heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC)


Preferred Qualifications:

A minimum of three years of previous research work experience (including industry, postdoctoral, other academic, and/or research fellowship) is highly desired, especially in the field of heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC&R), water heating, or appliances. You should possess a strong background of training (or other direct experience) in energy conversion systems found in buildings (such as system design, analytical modeling, numerical modeling, experimental design, instrumentation, and data acquisition). Knowledge of how systems are installed and operated in the field is also desirable. Knowledge of standards by which HVAC&R equipment and TES equipment are evaluated is a plus, including federal minimum standards, methods of testing and metrics defined by ENERGY STAR and REEOs, and common methods used in development by manufacturers.


Background and experience in (a) innovating thinking and problem-solving, (b) thermodynamic cycle modeling, (c) design and operation of experimental thermal/fluid systems, (d) knowledge of fluid dynamics and heat and mass transfer, and (e) knowledge of various mechanical systems and instrumentation is preferred. Experience with prototype development is desirable. Experience in developing new ideas and proposal writing is expected. Strong communication (written and verbal) and interpersonal skills are required. Finally, you should demonstrate a strong background in project management with a proven publication/patent record.


Expertise in one or multiple of the following areas is of particular interest: (a) heat exchanger design and its associated disciplines (heat transfer, fluid flow, and coupled heat and mass transfer), (b) design and modeling of reverse Rankine (vapor compression) and related thermodynamic cycles, (c) design, measurement, and standards related to residential and commercial HVAC&R equipment, TES equipment and systems, appliances, and water heaters, (d) materials relevant to non-vapor compression heat pumps, (e) phase change materials, (f) membranes, (g) cost reduction and design for manufacturing, (h) advanced manufacturing methods, (i) control of building equipment, (j) low-temperature geothermal energy, (k) building energy simulations, and (l) other technologies relevant to developing future building equipment that is efficient and grid-interactive.


You should have the ability to lead teams of engineers and technicians to successfully design, build and evaluate advanced building equipment and energy conversion systems.  Excellent communication skills (oral and written), as well as strong interpersonal skills to support team building, partnering, and leadership are required. The ability to develop and/or maintain strong relationships through active participation in building industry organizations and events is required.  For more information, please contact Xiaobing Liu (liux2@ornl.gov).


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 ORNLRecruiting@ornl.gov.

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