DGE – Global Ecology

Postdoctoral Research Associate: Exploring Key Factors for a Near-zero Emission Energy Transition

Department: DGE – Global Ecology

Salary: TBD Competitive

Location: Stanford, CA

We are developing a group of collaborating researchers who seek to explore key factors that could help facilitate a transition to a near-zero emission energy system. As the Carnegie Energy Innovation project (http://CarnegieEnergyInnovation.org), we engage in a collection of projects, which postdocs are expected to lead. Our work typically falls into four related areas:

  1. Schematic energy-system modeling
  2. Schematic economic modeling
  3. Geophysical modeling
  4. Energy and climate-related analysis

Examples of current projects include: (1) A schematic energy system modeling effort aimed at understanding the range of potentially feasible near-zero emission energy systems, what would have to become true to make feasible different system architectures, and the value of technical innovation. (2) A schematic economic modeling effort aimed at understanding the role of efficiency improvements in affecting carbon dioxide emissions and economic growth. (3) A geophysical modeling effort aimed at understanding efficacy and possible unintended consequences of regional-scale wind farms. (4) An analysis of factors that would affect the potential climate benefit of possible technological innovations. We are also in the process of organizing an international meeting on balancing climate and development objectives in the poorest countries of the world.

Postdocs are free to work on a broad range of topics within this broad general domain. Examples of such studies published so far this year include: Shayegh et al. (Evaluating relative benefits of different types of R&D for clean energy technologies, Energy Policy, 2017), Cao et al. (Simultaneous stabilization of global temperature and precipitation through cocktail geoengineering, GRL, 2017), Clack et al. (Evaluation of a proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100% wind, water, and solar, PNAS, 2017), Wang et al. (Will the use of a carbon tax for revenue generation produce an incentive to continue carbon emissions? ERL, 2017), Ahbe and Caldeira (Spatial Distribution of Generation of Lorenz’s Available Potential Energy in a Global Climate Model, J Clim., 2017).

This position will involve working with Ken Caldeira at the Carnegie Institution for Science Department of Global Ecology on the Stanford University campus. Caldeira has a physical science background, but we are collaborating closely with (and hiring!) people who have deeper experience in energy system and/or economic modeling.

Successful candidates will play a major role in planning and executing these investigations and communicating the results through peer-reviewed publications and direct engagement with public and private technology investment and policy decision makers. The initial term will be for one year with the potential for renewal for a second year up to a maximum of four years.

Candidates with a PhD in science, engineering or economics, or comparable experience in quantitative analysis, are particularly encouraged to apply. Achievement in the area of scientific publication, or comparable evidence of being able to complete high quality work in a timely manner, is a primary filter determining which applications receive greater consideration. Positions are available now; start date is flexible but Spring or Summer of 2018 would be ideal. Carnegie Institution post-docs have access to most Stanford facilities. Compensation for this position includes a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits.

Informal inquiries about these positions can be made by emailing Ken Caldeira at kcaldeira@carnegiescience.edu.  Formal applications for employment must be submitted by clicking on the bar below, and must include both a cover letter and CV. The Carnegie Institution for Science is an equal-opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on race, sex, age, physical condition, or country of national origin.

Postdoctoral Opportunity: Optimization of Idealized Near-Zero-Emission Energy Systems

Department: DGE – Global Ecology

Salary: TBD Competitive Salary

Location: Stanford, CA

We seek to understand basic principles relating to how various cost and performance characteristics of energy technologies would affect their penetration in possible future near-zero-emission energy systems. For example, under what conditions would two different battery technologies, one with higher capital costs and round-trip efficiency and another with lower capital costs but lower round-trip efficiency, be able to co-exist in a future energy system and under what conditions would one of these battery technologies drive out the other? Similar questions can be asked about a wide range of technology choices. It is hoped that the understanding gained would inform R&D investment aimed at near-zero-emission energy system innovation, and also help indicate how deployment choices could help maintain optionality and avoid technological lock-in.

Coming from a physical science and engineering cost perspective, and putting aside political and policy constraints, we seek to define an idealized system and then solve it exactly, in the hopes that the conceptual understanding gained will inform decision-making in the real world.

Our initial focus will be on optimization of a schematic model of electricity and fuels sectors. The research will utilize a spatially-unresolved functional model of energy transformations and uses to evaluate different technical solutions for decarbonizing electricity production. Technology options include, but are not limited to: intermittent electricity generation technologies (solar, wind), energy storage (batteries, compressed air, thermal, pumped hydro, power-to-gas-to-power), flexible generation (natural gas w/ and w/o CCS, flexible nuclear, traditional hydro) and baseload generation (nuclear, coal). Electricity and heat to fuels is also of interest, as are demand side components, such as demand management and increases in demand due to vehicle electrification or power-to-fuel transitions, among others. Later analysis could involve extension to explicitly consider spatial dimensions.

A successful candidate will play a major role in planning and executing these techno-economic investigations and communicating the results through peer-reviewed publications and direct engagement with public and private technology investment and policy decision makers.

The position will involve working with Ken Caldeira at the Carnegie Institution for Science Department of Global Ecology and Adam Brandt of the Stanford Department of Energy Resources Engineering on the Stanford University campus.

We maintain an exciting collegial atmosphere, working in a diverse group that includes climate modelers, energy-system analysts, assessment experts, and field researchers. Carnegie Institution post-docs have access to most Stanford facilities.

The initial term will be for one year with the potential for renewal for a second year up to a maximum of four years. Positions are available now and we are flexible with regard to start date.

Candidates with a PhD in engineering or a related scientific or technical field, or comparable experience, are particularly encouraged to apply. Achievement in the area of scientific publication, or comparable evidence of being able to complete high quality work in a timely manner, is a primary filter determining which applications receive greater consideration. Compensation for this position includes a competitive salary and comprehensive benefits.

Informal inquiries about these positions can be made by emailing Ken Caldeira at kcaldeira@carnegiescience.edu and/or Adam Brandt at abrandt@stanford.edu, however formal applications for employment must be submitted by clicking on the blue bar below.

To be considered, please include a cover letter and CV.

The Carnegie Institution is an equal-opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on race, sex, age, physical condition, or country of national origin.

Director, Department of Global Ecology

Department: DGE – Global Ecology

Salary:

Location: Palo Alto, CA

The Carnegie Institution for Science is a U.S.-based non-profit, private endowment headquartered in Washington, DC. Andrew Carnegie founded the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1902 as an organization for scientific discovery to serve as a home to exceptional individuals—men and women—with imagination and extraordinary dedication capable of working at the cutting edge of their fields. Today, Carnegie scientists work in six scientific departments on the West and East Coasts. Carnegie investigators are leaders in the fields of plant biology, developmental biology, earth and planetary sciences, astronomy, and global ecology.

The Carnegie Institution for Science is seeking a Director for the Department of Global Ecology to lead the department in multidisciplinary basic research programs that include, for example, Ecology, Remote Sensing, Geospatial Analysis, Energy Systems, and response to Climate Change. The Department of Global Ecology is co-located with the Department of Plant Biology, which maintains independent research programs in Plant Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, and Phenomics.

The Director will be expected to maintain an active scientific program and to provide general scientific leadership for the staff, who currently focus on the research themes mentioned above. The successful candidate will have a strong record of scientific excellence in at least one of the following areas: Ecology, Earth System Science, Biogeochemistry or Geostatistics. The Department of Global Ecology is located on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, CA. It presently consists of 4 staff scientists, 10-20 postdoctoral fellows, and a supporting technical staff. All scientific staff salaries, several postdoctoral fellows, and a major part of the research program are covered by endowment funds. Research grants make up the balance of the funding. This position will report to the President of the Institution, currently Dr. Matthew Scott. The Director will be responsible for the advancement of the program, as well as development, budget, and scientific/administrative oversight.

Application Instructions

Potential candidates should send a CV and a letter of interest, attached as a single combined PDF file to dge-search@carnegiescience.edu. Only applications received at this address will be considered, and applicants should not apply through this site nor via the link below.

The review of applications will begin on January 15, 2017 and the position will remain open until it is filled.

All applications will be kept in the strictest confidence.

The Carnegie Institution is an Equal Opportunity Employer and all applicants will receive consideration of employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status.