University of Kentucky CAER Home


What is the CAER?

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research is a university energy research facility, focusing primarily on applied energy research.

What are the CAER's areas of expertise?

The CAER is recognized internationally for its proficiency in the areas of:

  • Algae for CO2 Clean up
  • Ash Management
  • Applied Petrology
  • Automotive Catalysis
  • Binder and Briquetting/Agglomeration/Pelletizing
  • Biodiesel
  • Biomass Research
  • Carbon Management
  • Carbon Materials (including nanotube synthesis and applications)
  • Catalysis (including Fischer-Tropsch)
  • Coal Cleaning
  • Coal Tar Pitch
  • Coal-to-Liquids
  • Combustion/Gasification
  • Concrete and Cement (low energy)
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electron Microscopy
  • Emissions Control in Utilities
  • Energy Policy
  • Environmental Issues
  • Fuels Research
  • Gasification
  • Gas Separation
  • Hydrogen
  • Mercury
  • Metallurgy/Materials Characterization
  • Mineral Preparation
  • Petroleum Processing
  • Petrology
  • Pitch Processing
  • Plant Optimization
  • Go to CAER Research for more details.

Where is the lab located?

The lab is located in Lexington, Kentucky about 8 miles from campus, and surrounded by thoroughbred horse farms. See maps and directions for details.


The CAER employs over 100 full-time staff members. The technical staff includes:

  • chemists;
  • geologists; and
  • chemical, materials, mining, civil, electrical, and mining engineers.

In addition, the lab employs a support staff of lab technicians, information services experts, and administration.

What about students at the CAER?

Students are an important part of our organization. Although not a degree-granting unit, at any given time, undergraduate and graduate students, along with postdoctoral researchers, make up a large proportion of our staff. See Education for more details.

How is the CAER affiliated with the University of Kentucky?

The CAER is one of the University's large, stand-alone, multidisciplinary research centers. Staff members work closely with several academic departments by hiring students, collaborating with faculty members, providing lab space and equipment, and serving on thesis and dissertation committees. In addition, some staff members are either full faculty members or hold adjunct appointments.

How is the CAER funded?

The CAER receives funding from the Commonwealth of Kentucky through the University. In addition, the Center uses those funds when possible to leverage funding from the federal government and industry.

Does the Center Have Outreach Activities?

Yes. The center does both educational outreach to K-12 and postsecondary groups, as well as, professional development workshops, short courses, seminars, and conferences.

What kind of analytical support does the CAER provide?

  • Chromatographic Analysis
  • Spectroscopic Analysis
  • Thermal Analysis
  • Metal Analysis
  • Surface Analysis
  • Particle Size Analysis
  • Physical Measurements
  • Elemental Analysis
  • Coal/Coke Testing
  • Coal Petrography
  • Porous Solids Characterization
  • Environmental Analysis
  • See Analytical Services for more details.

What kind of laboratory facilities and equipment are available at the CAER?

Go to the CAER Equipment section for a complete list and photo description.

Does the CAER work with the private sector?

Yes. It has an industrial support coordinator whose job is to interface with industry and the CAER staff. These resources can be made available to industrial, academic, and government entities to address technical problems ranging from the routine to the advancement of the state of the art.

Does the CAER have any patents available for licensing?

Opportunities exist for technology transfer of CAER-developed technologies.
Contact: Don Challman - Email

Does CAER organize symposia?

The CAER co-organizes and hosts a biennial conference entitled, "World of Coal Ash (WOCA)." This meeting has a worldwide representation of more than 500 attendees. - Other CAER-sponsored events.

Does the CAER collaborate with National Laboratories and other universities?

Yes. The CAER is always receptive to collaborations, sabbaticals for faculty from other universities or labs, joint proposals, etc. Our Expertise describes areas of interest and expertise.

What other organizations are associated with UK CAER?

  • The Kentucky Research Consortium for Energy and the Environment (KRCEE) supports the US DOE's efforts to complete the environmental restoration of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, the Western Kentucky Wildlife Management Area, and surrounding areas. It is operated under the management of the CAER.
  • KY NSF EPSCoR - The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) was established by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the late 1970's to promote scientific progress nationwide. It was designed to benefit states that have traditionally received less NSF Research and Development (R&D) funding. Twenty-seven states and U.S. territories participate in the program. Through EPSCoR, NSF has established continuing partnerships with government, higher education and industry that have brought about lasting improvements in Kentucky's R&D infrastructure and ultimately, its national competitiveness. CAER began managing this group in 2011.
  • Ky-Argonne Battery Manufacturing Research & Development Center - The Commonwealth of Kentucky, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville partnered with Argonne National Laboratory to establish a Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center to create and deploy a domestic supply of advanced battery that will aid in securing U.S. energy independence, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help strengthen the economy. The administrative offices are housed at CAER with strong collaborations between the entity and CAER's electrochemistry experts.
  • UK Renewable Fuels Lab is developing improved processes for biomass use, with the goal of supporting the development of the biofuels industry in Kentucky. The laboratory facilities are housed at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER) and the Biosystems and Agriculture Engineering Department (BAE) in the College of Agriculture. The laboratory is open to researchers from Kentucky institutions working in biofuels.
  • Catalyst Research and Testing Center (CRTC) is housed within the CAER, defines scientific principles involved in catalysis and applies them to industry. The strength of this focus has been the foundation of numerous beneficial interactions with industrial, governmental and academic organizations. The CENTER is a vehicle for the multidisciplinary interaction of industrial and academic scientists and provides unique educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers. The Catalysis Center has actively participated in the co-op program of the Universities of Kentucky and Louisville for many years. The Center has also become a facility for collaboration with international as well as U.S. scientists through the CAER's visiting scientist program.
  • Carbon Management Research Group (CMRG) - CAER's Power Generation and Utility Fuels formed an energy consortium with several utilities in 2007 with the goal of carrying out a long-term program of research to develop and demonstrate cost-effective and practical technologies to reduce CO2 in existing coal-fired electric power plants. The current members include: Kentucky Dept. of Energy Development & Independence; LG&E-KU; Duke Energy; Kentucky Power (AEP); and East Kentucky Power Cooperative. CAER was recently selected to receive a $14.5M grant from the DOE to take this research to a demonstration scale at a utility.

Does CAER have a presence in the state, other than in Lexington?

The Energy Extension Agent program began in 2008 with an agent in eastern Kentucky's West Liberty office and a counterpart in Henderson's western office. CAER's energy officers can be thought of as energy 'extension' agents, much like the well-known Agriculture Extension Agents, who can be found in each of Kentucky's 122 counties. Regional Officers consult and encourage partnerships between groups outside the central part of the state and CAER, along with other UK energy groups.

Is it possible to access publications from the CAER?

Yes. Citations and/or full publications are available:

In addition, Coal Combustion and Gasification Products is a unique peer-reviewed journal designed specifically to communicate coal ash research and emerging new technologies. CCGP is a joint venture between the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER) and the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA). The organizations' primary goal is to bring together research that currently is published in disparate sources. CCGP is an international on-line journal encompassing the science and technology of the production, sustainable utilization, and environmentally-sound handling of the byproducts of coal combustion and gasification.

Whom should I contact to receive more information?

The CAER's general phone number is: 859-257-0305, fax 859-257-0220. Employee phone numbers and email addresses can be found in the staff directory.

The mailing address is:

University of Kentucky
Center for Applied Energy Research
2540 Research Park Dr.
Lexington, KY 40511-8479