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Requisition Id 8235 


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.


We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Chemical Process Scale Up Group in the Manufacturing Science Division (MSD), Energy Science and Technology Directorate (ESTD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The postdoc will become part of our catalytic upgrading team that involves on-going collaborations among multiple national laboratories. The successful candidate will conduct research in activation and conversion of bioderived building blocks to sustainable aviation fuel. Research will include catalyst development, reaction engineering, batch and continuous flow reactor development, synthetic and analytical chemistry.


The research spans basic to applied research in bioenergy, transportation, and energy storage programs. The candidate will be expected to work in multi-disciplinary teams. The Chemical Process Science Research Group is a highly collaborative interdisciplinary team of chemical engineers, material scientists, physical and synthetic chemists, and computational modelling working toward net carbon zero fuels through catalytic conversions of biomass and derived intermediates. The postdoc will be encouraged to collaborate with collaborators at other National Laboratories as well as other ORNL researchers and actively present results at team meetings and conferences.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Develop new and novel multifunctional heterogeneous catalytic system to enable the conversion of biomass or bioderived building blocks to more complex carbon scaffolds suitable for conversion to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) components
  • Responsible for experiment design and implementation including hydrogenations, reductions, deoxygenations, carbon-carbon coupling reactions, condensations in both batch and continuous flow systems
  • Construction and development of packed bed reactor systems for chemical reaction development to aid in the development of kinetic models
  • Have expertise in use of common analytical techniques to evaluate chemical conversions including GC-MS, NMR, HPLC etc.
  • Participate in aspects of chemical process development, including technoeconomic analysis, lifecycle analysis and process scale-up
  • Work with the principal investigator and others as a team player to maintain a high level of scientific productivity and to meet project/task milestones
  • Responsible for preparing, presenting, and reporting research results and publishing scientific results in key peer-reviewed journals in a timely manner
  • Work with the principal investigator as necessary in developing new ideas and extended proposals beyond the scope of currently sponsored project(s)
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD in chemical engineering, chemistry, or a related field completed within the last 5 years


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in the development of batch and continuous flow reactor operation and subsequent analysis to determine quantitative product yields
  • Understanding of reaction kinetics and the requirements for scale-up of chemical processes
  • Synthesis and characterization of heterogeneous catalysts
  • 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
  • An excellent record of productive and creative research demonstrated by publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at scientific conferences
  • Capable of conducting creative research independently with minimal supervision
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment and interact effectively with a broad range of colleagues
  • Ability to function well in a dynamic research environment, set priorities to accomplish tasks on time, and adapt to ever-changing needs
  • Desired experience in catalyst synthesis and characterization. Experience with high pressure reactions, catalyst development and synthesis of heterogenous catalysts
  • Excellent analytical skills to determine composition of complex mixtures and to identify major species present using an array of complimentary techniques
  • Familiarity with biomass and upgrading pathways of biomass to fuels and chemicals
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory 
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs


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.


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  • 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.

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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.

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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.