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Magnetohydrodynamic Channel Testing and Simulation

The National Energy Technology Laboratory's (NETL's) record of success has been built on understanding the future of energy and the technologies required to make that future possible. We’ve long touted our success in developing the technologies that took on acid rain in the 1970s and mercury in the early 2000s. More recently, NETL has a leading role in President Biden’s ambitious climate goals, including a carbon emission-free power sector by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050.

Program Goals

The NETL Postgraduate Research Program (PGRP) is a high-intensity program designed to identify recent Master’s and Doctoral graduates of high promise and to foster advanced skill development. It allows the postgraduate to systematically outline career goals and helps provide the means of achieving these goals. NETL principal investigators and leads serve as mentors to PGRP participants during the program. This interaction affords the postgraduate a unique opportunity to develop critical skills needed to become an independent professional.

The program goals include providing the opportunity to participants to:

  • Develop skills and knowledge in their field of study
  • Engage with new areas of basic and applied research
  • Network with world-class scientists
  • Exchange ideas and skills with the Laboratory community
  • Use state-of-the-art equipment
  • Contribute to answers for today's pressing scientific questions
  • Collaborate with the broader scientific and technical communities

Project Details

Through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), this posting seeks a post-Doctoral or post-Master's researcher to engage in projects with the Research Innovation Center (RIC) at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in the area of energy conversion engineering under the mentorship of Rigel Woodside. This project will be hosted at the NETL Albany, OR campuses.


NETL is interested in developing magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) generators capable of extracting energy directly from high-velocity oxy-fuel combustion gases. The postdoctoral research fellow will be a part of an interdisciplinary team designing, building, simulating, and testing laboratory scale MHD generator channels at NETL. The candidate will take an active role in the project by assisting in designing a channel, evaluating and making recommendations for fabrications, performing measurements in the laboratory, analyzing test data, and communicating research findings through publications and presentations. Research goals include experimentally validating CFD simulations of loss mechanisms in MHD channels. Candidates should have excellent communication skills and relevant laboratory experience.

The participant will: (1) learn about MHD energy conversion physics and prospective engineering applications; (2) learn how to collaboratively engage as part of an interdisciplinary team in a DOE national laboratory setting; (3) increase skills in the methods of multi-physics simulations and validations of these simulations through laboratory testing; and (4) publish in scientific journals and present technical work at conferences.

Peer-reviewed publication is strongly encouraged and will be supported by the mentor and other collaborators, as it an important step for emerging researchers to establish themselves and contribute to the advancement of the state-of-understanding in their field of endeavor. It is not, however, a requirement for this opportunity.

Stipend: The selected participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.

  • Post-Master's stipends start at $3,720 per month.
  • Post-Doctoral stipends start at $5,518 per month.
    Actual stipend rate offered may be increased based on experience.

Deliverables: To document the effectiveness of the program, participants are required to submit a pre-appointment and post-appointment survey, as well as a reflection on their appointment experience when they renew or end their appointment. The reflection should summarize their project(s), additional activities, and overall experience. Details are provided as the appointment end date approaches.
Participants may also have the opportunity to contribute to manuscripts, journal articles, book chapters, conference presentations, posters, patents, and other publications as a part of their appointment. Such achievements should also be reported to ORISE; additional details are provided after an offer has been accepted.


The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory system, is owned and operated by the DOE. NETL supports the DOE mission to advance the energy security of the United States. This is an educational opportunity offered by NETL and administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. Participants in the program are not considered employees of NETL, DOE, the program administrator, or any other office or agency.



To be eligible, you must either:

  • have received a Doctoral degree within the last five years or be currently enrolled in a Doctoral degree program and complete the degree prior to the appointment start date.
  • have received a Master's degree within the last three years or are currently enrolled in a Master's degree program and complete the degree prior to the appointment start date.

The ideal candidate would have some, but not necessarily all, of the following:

  • Knowledge or experience with the design and fabrication of components and systems for application in R&D laboratories
  • Familiarity with simulations, measurements, or analysis of combustion and/or plasma reactions
  • Familiarity with heat transfer and thermal-structural analysis
  • Knowledge or skill with CAD tools such as SolidWorks
  • Knowledge or skill with fabrication equipment such as lathes, drill presses, and 3D printers
  • Knowledge or skill with multi-physics simulation software such as COMSOL
  • Knowledge or skill with setting up experiments and analyzing test data
  • Strong verbal and written English communication skills
  • Demonstrated experience in conducting scientific research and publishing results