Energy Career Profile: Emerging Energy Researcher

There are few things more fascinating to follow than the developments going on in the energy sphere. Every day, new technologies are harnessed to create brand new ways to generate and store power and to improve the effectiveness of the systems we already have. Over the past decade, all eyes have been on the renewable sector. The industry understands clearly that a dependence of fossil fuels, while profitable for oil and gas companies, is going to completely destroy the planet if it isn’t alleviated. Thus, the quest for the perfect renewable energy source is underway.

Science has come a long way in developing green, sustainable energy generation. Solar, wind, tidal and biomass power are just some of the resources we can use to generate power. But, there is a never-ending scope for development out there and it is up to the next generation of scientists to unlock its full potential. This is the role of the emerging energy researcher.

Basics of the Job

As an emerging energy researcher you will be at the forefront of the battle against climate change. You will be researching and trying out cutting edge technologies in order to advance our ability to generate clean power. You might be looking into geothermal energy generation, or ways in which you can maximise output from biomass waste. Alternatively, you might be researching a brand new form of energy generation that is not yet sufficiently understood and therefore not available to the public.

You will design and test power generation systems with the aim of making them as efficient as possible. You will also look at the wider context of how the energy source could be used. Are there any geographical or financial constraints that might get in the way of the system becoming mainstream? All of this will be part of your day to day job.

Job Duties

No two emerging energy researchers’ days will be the same. The very nature of the job means that what you are working on will constantly evolve and progress. This is what makes it such a thrilling area in which to work. One day you could be at your desk researching a certain area of energy generation and taking detailed notes and the next you could be in the lab building your own systems and taking them for a test drive.

In addition to the practical work you will undertake, there will also be a certain degree of information dissemination. The whole world is working towards a common goal and it is important to share what we are learning in order to achieve our goals as quickly as possible – patents permitting. You will write reports, give presentations and communicate clearly with investors regarding your research and developments.

Where You Will Work

You will spend your days flitting between the office, the lab and the field. When you are in the office you will do the preparation required before going out to the lab and the field. You will also spend time here afterwards to write up the results of your experiments and to create the literature needed to send to senior management, investors, and government bodies. The ability to distil your work into layman’s terms will be essential.

Who to Work For

Emerging energy researchers are valuable members of teams within a number of establishments. If you like what you’ve read so far and think this might be an opportunity you wish to explore, employment can be found in a number of places. Predominantly, this kind of employee is required in environmental and biotechnology consulting firms. There are also opportunities within academic institutions, NGOs, and government departments.