Natel Energy

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Hydraulic Design Engineer

  • Engineering
  • Full-time
  • Alameda, CA
  • 120K - 170K USD a year


Natel Energy is seeking a skilled and motivated turbine CFD design engineer to join our team! Natel designs and tests high performance FishSafe hydraulic turbines, modernizing the hydro industry and preserving biodiversity while simultaneously enabling decarbonization. You will join an exciting and fast paced team where we develop customized solutions for some of the largest turbines in the global fleet down to scale model performance test units.

You will help us achieve our goals of modernization, decarbonization, and biodiversity by designing and optimizing hydro turbine geometry from first principles through detailed CFD and, at times, through to physical scale model testing. You will work with other hydraulic design engineers at Natel to complete regular design deliverables for customers and partners, aid the commercial team with proposals, conduct R&D-related analysis and design work for test equipment, and improve and automate processes for increased throughput.

Prior experience in the hydro industry is a plus, but not required. A successful candidate will have a strong foundation of engineering fundamentals and systems design, with focused expertise in utilizing CFD to support system or product development. Candidates must be effective communicators, collaborators, and independent contributors. Candidates must also be creative and driven problem solvers,  not satisfied with the status quo.

This role is an important long-term opportunity with our growing company. As such, Natel will take what time is necessary to find the candidate that maps comprehensively to our needs and will be well positioned to grow and contribute quickly. There is no specific timeline within which this position will be awarded and closed out.


  • Lead the modern hydro turbine industry with design and analysis techniques to produce competitive, efficient, FishSafe, and manufacturable turbine and hydropower facility designs and upgrades.

  • Utilize Siemens NX, STAR-CCM+, and other related tools as necessary for hydraulic turbine design, analysis, and optimization. Apply existing design and analysis workflows as well as develop new and improved methods and automations.

  • Become an expert in Natel’s system and product design space. Understand tradeoffs in hydraulic design performance, cost, and mechanical + operational implications; interpret and apply customer and site design requirements along with performance and fish survival models and test data; propose and deliver solutions (OML, layouts, loads) and associated documentation.

  • Assess test data of sub- and full-scale systems to inform design approaches; design and participate in conducting performance tests. Document and report analysis and test approaches and results in formats ranging from tabular data to figures to publication-worthy reports and presentations.

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • At least 3 years experience in related role(s)

  • A bachelor’s degree or higher in an applicable engineering discipline (mechanical, aerospace, etc)

  • Competence with advanced CAD surfacing and parametric modeling techniques (preferably in Siemens NX)

  • Competence in single and multiphase aerodynamic or hydrodynamic CFD meshing and analysis, preferably with complete turbomachinery or other rotating systems, preferably with STAR-CCM+

  • Familiarity with data analysis and/or automation coding languages (eg. Python, Java)

  • A motivation to apply your skills and knowledge in a fast-paced R&D and production environment

  • An organized and data-driven approach to problem solving

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills: comfortable receiving as well as providing guidance and technical material from/to engineers, designers, technicians, and suppliers

  • Confidence in working independently to drive a project forward

Not Required, but Pluses:

  • Proficiency in Siemens NX surfacing techniques

  • Expertise in STAR-CCM+

  • Experience in the design or analysis of hydro turbines or pumps or turbomachinery in general

  • Both Windows and Linux based HPC setup and job management experience

  • Endorsements or certifications in applicable skill areas

Compensation & Benefits

Starting pay for the successful applicant will depend on a variety of job-related factors, which may include job-related knowledge, skills, and experience, market location, business needs, other compensation components, and/or market demands. The starting base salary range for this role is  $120k-$170K. This range may be modified in the future.

In addition to competitive salaries, we offer equity to new employees and incentive compensation  based on team performance.

We are proud to offer great benefits like 4 weeks of paid vacation, 2 weeks of paid sick leave, and trans-inclusive health insurance plans (along with dental, vision and life insurance). We want our team to live full lives outside of work.


Onsite, Alameda, CA. This role is full time at Natel’s Alameda, California office and facility, with flexibility to work from home intermittently. We have a dog-friendly workplace!

Occasional travel may be required for supplier site visits, field testing, or similar.

Our hiring process

Natel Energy is committed to building, supporting, and growing a diverse team. We have a standardized interview process designed to reduce individual bias, and have structured pay scales to prevent inequity. We don’t discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.

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