Postdoctoral Researcher — Biomass Pretreatment and Chemical Process Development

National Renewable Energy Laboratory NREL

Posting Title

Postdoctoral Researcher — Biomass Pretreatment and Chemical Process Development



CO – Golden


Position Type

Postdoc (Fixed Term)


Hours Per Week



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Employment at NREL is contingent upon your compliance with all NREL and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) safety protocols and mitigation efforts directed at the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

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Job Description

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, is the nation’s primary laboratory for research, development, and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The National Bioenergy Center at NREL has an opening for a full-time Postdoctoral Researcher. This position supports the National Bioenergy Center’s mission to develop biomass conversion processes focusing on low temperature chemical pretreatment to liberate sugars from biomass via a cost-effective and environmental benign pathway. The researcher will execute experiments, analyze data, investigate reaction kinetics, chemistry, transport phenomena and mechanisms.  The research will also focus on process optimization based on TEA and LCA analysis.

Primary duties include:

  • Design and conduct bench and pilot-scale experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of different pretreatment methods on various biomass feedstocks.
  • Develop and optimize pretreatment processes to improve the yield and quality of fermentable sugars and other valuable products.
  • Perform kinetic and thermodynamic modeling of pretreatment processes to better understand the underlying mechanisms and guide process optimization.
  • Characterize the chemical and physical properties of biomass feedstocks before and after pretreatment using a range of analytical techniques.
  • Evaluate process economic and environmental impacts using TEA and LCA analysis tools
  • Disseminate research results through publication in technical journals and presentations at conferences, symposia, etc.


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

* Must meet educational requirements prior to employment start date.

Additional Required Qualifications

  • Strong background in biomass conversion or pulping technologies, particularly pretreatment methods.
  • Experience with experimental design and statistical analysis of data.
  • Familiarity with analytical techniques for characterizing biomass feedstocks and their pretreated products.
  • Proficiency in modeling and simulation of chemical and biochemical processes.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills..

Preferred Qualifications

  • Strong publication record.
  • Experience with modeling industrial or pilot-scale process in the pulp and paper, or food-processing industries.
  • Strong background in wood chemistry and cellulose material science.
  • Proficient in using a range of analytical equipment including NMR, GPC, GC-MS, XRD, FTIR and HPLC.
  • Analytical skills using Python or equivalent programming tools to effectively analyze and interpret data.


Annual Salary Range (based on full-time 40 hours per week)
Job Profile: Postdoctoral Researcher / Annual Salary Range: $71,300 – $117,600

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-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; and paid holidays. 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.

* Based on eligibility rules

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.


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