UK CAER Current News

The Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) is one of the University of Kentucky's multidisciplinary research centers. Its energy research provides a focal point for environmental, renewable and fossil fuels research in Kentucky.

UK CAER's Research is Used in KY's First Megawatt-Scale Carbon Capture Pilot Unit

clock July 21, 2014 14:32 by author Alice

Gov. Steve Beshear (fifth from right) cut the ribbon to begin construction of Kentucky's first megawatt-scale carbon capture pilot unit at an operating power plant located at Kentucky Utilities Company’s E.W. Brown Generating Station, near Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Also pictured, (extreme left) Dr. Kunlei Liu, CAER Director of Research; (to right of Governor) UK President Eli Capilouto and (extreme right) Dr. Rodney Andrews, CAER Director.

A news conference and ribbon cutting on the grounds of the unit was held this morning with Gov. Steve Beshear, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters, LG&E and KU Energy Chairman, CEO and President Victor Staffieri, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto, and other dignitaries and industrial partners in attendance. The $19.5 million project with the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research is made possible through ... rest of story from UKNOW.


UKNOW HIghlights CAER - China Carbon Capture Collaboration

clock July 15, 2014 13:06 by author Alice
According to a story on UKNOW: LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 15. 2014) — The University of Kentucky has entered into an agreement with a major Chinese petrochemical conglomerate to develop technologies to capture, utilize and store 1 million tons of carbon dioxide per year from a coal-fired power plant in Dongying, Shandong, China.

The agreement, between UK's Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) and the Sinopec Corporation's Shengli Oilfield Company and Petroleum Engineering Construction Corporation, is a project of the joint U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) as part of its Carbon Capture, Use, and Storage (CCUS) initiative. Preliminary work on the project began in 2012, and work is scheduled to continue through 2017.

More ...


UK CAER's Jim Hower is Interviewed by WLEX18

clock July 15, 2014 10:38 by author Alice
Dr. Jim Hower, UK CAER Geologist/Scientist and Dr. Jen O'Keefe, Geologist/Scientist at Morehead State University were interviewed by WLEX 18 for Mystery Monday: Mystery Of Underground Coal Fires.

From WLEX: Scientists say there are at least 30 underground coal fires in Eastern Kentucky, mostly in old abandoned mines. One of these burns under Highway 80 in Perry County. It's known as the Ruth Mullins fire and scientists are concerned that most people don't know how dangerous these fires can be.

Watch the video.



KY Organic Electronic Materials Symposium is a Success!

clock July 11, 2014 16:01 by author Alice
The Kentucky Organic Electronic Materials Symposium - An Introduction to Materials and Applications was organized by Dr. John Anthony, long-time CAER faculty associate, and hosted at the UK CAER Spindletop facility, and was a definite hit among the symposium's 40+ attendees. The KY NSF-EPSCoR provided funding for the majority of the symposium costs and provided travel funds for attendees from EPSCoR states which helps to build future EPSCoR research collaborations.

Symposium Summary: Progress in the development of new functional organic materials has accelerated in recent years, leading to a host of design rules for a variety of applications that are not necessarily enumerated in current chemical literature. This Symposium is designed to introduce researchers from EPSCoR states to the latest in organic electronics materials design and characterization, as well as present the current state-of-the-art in the performance of polymeric, blended, and pure small-molecule semiconductors in applications such as photovoltaics, thin-film transistors, sensors and other applications. A corresponding poster session and ample discussion opportunities will help build links between EPSCoR researchers with complementary research interests.

More Symposium Information.


Editors of Nature Ask John Anthony to Highlight Progress in Organic Electronics

clock July 11, 2014 15:53 by author Alice
Nature, the prestigious international weekly journal of science, recently asked Dr. John Anthony, UK Professor with solar lab facilities located at the CAER, to "highlight" progress in organic electronics within a set of papers given at a recent Materials Research Society session. The article's title is "Organic electronics: Addressing challenges". A short blurb from the Nature website:

Although promising, the use of organic semiconductors has not yet revolutionized consumer electronics. Synthesis of high-performance materials, enhanced control of morphology and smart exploitation of unique photophysical phenomena are the way forward to overcome the technological hurdles of this field.

It is now available online.



The ASER Summary: Community Engagement at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant

clock July 11, 2014 15:43 by author Alice
The US Department of Energy (DOE) conducts environmental monitoring at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) and releases an Annual Site Environmental Report (ASER). Although available to the public, the ASER is developed for site managers and DOE Headquarters. This year, under the guidance of UK CAER’s Kentucky Research Consortium for Energy and the Environment (KRCEE), Marshall County High School AP Environmental Science will summarize what they have learned about the PGDP ASER. The goal is to educate local students about the operations and cleanup activities at the PGDP and communicate the students’ new knowledge to the public.

Leading up to the PGDP tour, DOE Program Manager, Tracey Duncan, and KRCEE Principle Investigators, Steve Hampson and Dr. Richard Hallbrook gave lectures on the history and environmental challenges of the PGDP. On May 13th, members of KRCEE, Marshall County students and staff were given a DOE guided tour of the PGDP.

 

Afterwards, the group assembled at the Western Kentucky Wildlife Management Area (WKWMA) lodge to experience a presentation with live specimens by Dr. Steven Price, UK, Dept. of Forestry. The group then toured the WKWMA as Tim Kreher, Kentucky Wildlife Biologist, explained ecological considerations, use and management at the WKWMA.


UK CAER Scientists Collaborate with UK Engineering Capstone Senior Design Teams

clock July 11, 2014 15:00 by author Alice
The UK Center for Applied Energy Research, a non-degree granting UK energy research center, strives to provide and work with students via various experiential learning opportunities. For the past four years, the CAER's biofuels engineers have been working closely with the Mechanical Engineering's Capstone Senior Design project. The capstone project is a one-semester course within the UK College of Engineering college taken by students in their senior year. The students are divided into teams and the additional time allows for more comprehensive projects to be completed. This is where the CAER comes into the picture.

 

In an effort to drive down capital costs associated with algal-based carbon capture and utilization, the CAER "outsourced" design problems to the capstone student-based project teams so they could "dig a little deeper" to see what could be developed, with the end result to be working prototypes that could be incorporated into the Center's day-to-day biofuels research. In addition to campus work, the students worked about 10 hours per week at the Center to build their prototypes.

 

With input from the research staff at CAER, an electrical engineering (EE) team was tasked with developing a low cost control system while the mechanical design (ME) team was focused on reducing costs of the photobioreactor support frame.

 

Both student teams completed critical design reviews for their project, finalized their designs, and moved into the prototyping phase. The ME team met with a VERY aggressive cost reduction on the photobioreactor while the EE team was tasked with designing, building, and testing a control system capable of growing algae. "The end result is really cool", states Mike Wilson, CAER Biofuels Engineer, "because now the Center will be able to build and deliver a complete low-cost system to other research groups/companies".

 

Mike went on to say, "Put simply, we get professional engineering consulting for almost free, a working prototype of needed equipment, and the students get access to a modest budget (~$1000) for prototyping as well as a clearer picture of what goes on here at the Center. Getting to work with CAER researchers like Roger Perrone, Jack Groppo, Nick Rhea and myself gives them a unique experience that the other teams simply don’t get."

 

2014 EE team: George Villanueva, Cassie Cox, Chase Adams, Katelyn Yohe, Supreme Aryal

 

2014 ME team: Nathan Richardson, Tyler Craddock, Aaron Bottoms, David Trembula, Alison Dixon