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National Renewable Energy Laboratory Research Equipment Design: Fire and Safety in Golden, Colorado

Posting Title

Research Equipment Design: Fire and Safety



CO - Golden


Position Type



Hours Per Week



Job Description

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Bioenergy Science and Technology (BEST) directorate performs a full range of research from exploring biomass at the molecular level through biorefinery process optimization to bring biofuels and bio-products to market. Bioenergy research encompasses multiple areas including analysis & characterization, biochemical processes, bioenergetics, and thermochemical processes. More information can be found at: .

To support BEST’s cutting-edge research, the Research Operations team provides researchers with the facilities and support necessary to work safely. To strengthen research support capabilities, the BEST directorate is seeking a Design Engineer to assist in designing research equipment to ensure appropriate fire safety and other requirements are being met. This engineer will be responsible for:

  • Maintaining a detailed knowledge of NFPA and IFC codes and maintaining a working understanding of ASME, IBC, NEC, ANSI, and OSHA codes and standards

  • Establishing and maintaining a working relationship with BEST staff and engaging staff throughout process and equipment design to ensure safety standards are met whenever possible

  • When codes cannot be met on research equipment designs, working with researchers to develop alternate solutions that provide equal or greater safety protections

  • Providing guidance throughout the design process to ensure research equipment and processes meet all applicable codes to meet NREL’s high standard for safe research.

  • Establishing and maintaining a working relationship with the NREL Fire Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), and seek their interpretation of codes

  • When code equivalencies or variances are required, assisting the researchers through the approval process

  • Developing design standards for systems using flammable gases and/or liquids

  • Assisting with correcting findings from Fire Protection Assessments

  • Developing roll-out plans for implementing new fire code requirements

  • Reviewing legacy equipment design and providing strategies to improve safety and meet applicable codes

The ideal candidate will:

  • Have demonstrated experience with designing research equipment.

  • Possess a working understanding of NFPA and IFC codes.

  • Have the ability to read and understand P&IDs and other system and architectural drawings.

  • Effectively communicate, establish trust, and resolve conflicts with personnel with diverse skills, work styles, and values.

  • Have excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the preparation and presentation of technical reports.

  • Have excellent leadership, project management, and problem-solving skills.


Basic Qualifications

Related Bachelor's Degree and 5 or more years of experience. Or, related Master's Degree and 3 or more years of experience. Or, related PhD. Or, related JD or equivalent education.


Additional Required Qualifications

​ Complete understanding and wide application of technical principles, theories and concepts in the field. General knowledge of other related disciplines. Considerable knowledge of laws, regulations, principles, procedures and practices related to specific field. Strong leadership, project management and problem solving skills. Ability to use various computer software programs.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Degree and/or certification in engineering or science.

  • Previous experience working collaboratively in a research environment with scientists, engineers, management, and support staff.

  • Knowledge of R&D process and work flows in a non-industrial setting.

  • Knowledge and application of Integrated Safety Management, Hazard ID and Control, and other industrial hygiene and safety procedures.

  • Experience specifying safety components for research equipment.

  • Experience with CFD modeling

  • Collaborative mindset with ability to view and evaluate situations from varying angles to provide win-win solutions.

  • Previous experience working in a DOE laboratory.

  • Previous experience with lab design.


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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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a leader in the U.S. Department of Energy’s effort to secure an environmentally and economically sustainable energy future. With locations in Golden and Boulder, Colorado, and a satellite office in Washington, D.C., NREL is the primary laboratory for research, development, and deployment of renewable energy technologies in the United States.

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