NREL Post-Doctoral Researcher – Development of control engineering tools for wave, tidal, run of river, and hydropower applications in Boulder, Colorado

Posting Title

Post-Doctoral Researcher – Development of control engineering tools for wave, tidal, run of river, and hydropower applications



CO - Boulder


Position Type

Postdoc (Fixed Term)


Hours Per Week



Job Summary

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. NREL is leading several projects on water power design and performance analysis, and NREL’s National Wind Technology Center has an immediate opening for a full time (40 hours per week) Postdoctoral Researcher with broad expertise in controls and dynamics, fluid mechanics, and energy conversion processes in developing innovative ocean wave energy and hydropower technologies with high performance and low cost for application in emerging markets for offshore power generation.

The Postdoctoral Researcher will work collaboratively with an inter-laboratory team responsible for accelerating the development of wave, tidal, riverine, and hydropower renewable energy technologies in the United States and with national and international partners. The successful candidate will be part of a team scientists and engineers preforming research to develop advanced water power technologies by exploring reduced weight and cost structural components with higher reliability, and improved manufacturing methods. They will work with a team of scientists and engineers at NREL focusing on the development and application of system engineering tools to carry out research in the following areas: 1) isolated, single, wave energy converter (WEC) controls design; 2) control of a distributed network of multiple WECs or devices; 3) multi-variable optimal control of water power systems; and 4) experimental characterization and validation of power take-off technologies applicable to water power systems.

The candidate will be expected to help publish results in technical journals/conference proceedings and present work at conferences, symposia, and review meetings. They will also be expected to support the development of new work proposals, preparations, and reviews, and may also be responsible for co-mentoring PhD students.


Required Education, Experience, and Skills

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


Preferred Qualifications

Desired Education, Experience, and Skills:

  • PhD in controls engineering, mechanical engineering, ocean engineering, or an equivalent field within the last three years.

  • Expertise in system identification and control systems analysis for energy harvesting applications.

  • Experience with power take-off (i.e. generators and motors) system modeling and energy system integration.

  • Familiar with laboratory testing and control of dynamic systems.

  • Demonstrated data skills in processing and interpretation of field test data.

  • Experience in numerical method development and knowledge of programming languages, including MATLAB, Python, C++ and Fortran.

  • A publication record in peer-reviewed journals and conferences.

  • Excellent writing, interpersonal and communication skills.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Graduate level knowledge of ocean engineering, hydrodynamics, and system dynamics.

  • Understanding and practice with the hydrodynamics of floating bodies and/or other fluid flow.

  • Experience in modeling and control of offshore renewable energy devices (e.g. offshore wind turbines, tidal turbines, hydropower turbines, or WEC devices).

  • Skilled with writing and preparing proposals to funding organization.

  • Willingness to learn on the job and work independently with minimal supervision.


Submission Guidelines

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