Post-Doc in Power Electronics (M/F)
Gas & Power New Energies USA - Austin, TX

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Job Characteristics
  • Company: TOTAL SA
  • Contract: Fixed-term, 3 years
  • Branch: TOTAL New Energies
  • Location: Austin, TX, USA
  • Location of recruitment process: Houston, TX, USA
  • Salary: Depending on experience and qualifications
  • Starting date: As soon as possible

Total New Energies

TOTAL is one of the largest energy companies in the world, with over 96,000 employees, activities in more than 130 countries, and a branch, TOTAL New Energies, dedicated entirely to the commercial development of alternative energies (Solar PV, concentrated solar power, advanced biofuels)

TOTAL has been involved in photovoltaics since 1983, and is driven by the ambition to become the global leader in the solar industry. TOTAL New Energies pursues differentiation through technology as the first step towards building competitive integrated industrial operations in photovoltaic energy. The branch leverages an original networked innovation model in order to develop technologies that will make a real difference in the near or mid-term future. The network already includes several partnerships with leading companies and start-ups. In each partnership, researchers at the partner institution and TOTAL New Energies scientists jointly design and carry out the research efforts.

SunPower Corp – a strategic industrial asset

The most important TOTAL New Energies industrial asset in the solar industry is the California based SunPower Corp , one of the top three global solar companies by revenue. SunPower produces the world’s most efficient and reliable solar panels , guaranteeing high levels of energy production. The strategic decision of TOTAL New Energies' all-cash tender on SunPower made in 2011, has provided the group with a position as one of the leaders of the solar industry and reinforces the need for the company to accelerate innovation in solar energy .

A TOTAL-SunPower Post-Doc position

TOTAL New Energies is offering a Post-doc position as secondee in a SunPower lab located in Austin (TX, USA). As part of a team of outstanding scientists within a highly dynamic international R&D environment , the candidate will conduct power electronics research related to PV grid interconnection, storage and smart grids . The objective of the research is to develop a more efficient interaction generator-utility net and improve the relation between the control strategy and produced power. The candidate’s successful results will contribute directly to the technological leadership of SunPower in photovoltaics.

The principal responsibilities of the candidate will be to:
  • Conduct research to model and simulate a PV generation system considering aspects as grid interconnection, communications, monitoring and smart controlling.
  • Contribute to existing projects on smart inverter features, grid interconnection, and storage.
  • Work proactively with SunPower scientists to develop new concepts in the field of PV grid interconnection aiming to achieve performance improvement and strong production cost reduction.
  • Develop research proposals to support new and ongoing work within the power electronics and electrical machinery research program.
  • Report regularly on the research activity to TOTAL Headquarters, in particular the TOTAL PV R&D team to share R&D findings.
  • Establish a new policy of technological innovation that will lead to patentable results and will increase the competitive advantage within the solar market.
  • Assist in the recruitment, mentoring and technical supervision of PhD students.

Candidate profile

Applications are invited from candidates with a sound background in power electronics and the following skills and qualifications:

Educational background:
  • PhD degree in Electrical Power Systems (for example Power Quality) or Power Electronics including experimental work.

Knowledge and experience:
  • At least 3 years of relevant experience in PV power interconnection or/and power engineering.
  • Experience with Matlab development and simulation tools.
  • Knowledge and know-how in methods for module and system level laboratory testing and evaluation.
  • Knowledge of the state-of-the-art industrial communication protocols.
  • Capacity to design and implement new concepts, as well as establishing comparison and evaluation procedures that would verify the advantages of the proposed solutions.
  • Proficiency in mechanical and electrical operating concepts and strong analytical skills in problem solving.
  • Understanding of classical and modern control design techniques or experience in developing control systems in real applications.
  • Knowledge in the following subjects will be appreciated:
    • Power distribution system architectures,
    • Earthing systems (safety and regulations),
    • PV and storage interconnection
    • Power quality in distribution networks
    • Plan layout of electric PV plants or distribution lines or stations.
  • Capacity to coordinate research activities with PhD students.
  • Track-record of original research and publications presented in prestigious international conferences and scientific journals .
  • Fluency in English.
Personal qualities:
  • Innovative thinker and problem solver.
  • Capacity to work independently.
  • Team player.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Willingness to travel on a regular basis.

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