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.

Secretary Snavely visits CAER

clock February 14, 2017 10:05 by author Thomas

UK CAER hosted Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely on Friday, February 10. It was a pleasure hearing from him and sharing the UK CAER story.


Weisenberger, Craddock Receive US Patent

clock February 14, 2017 09:55 by author Thomas

A breakthrough from UK CAER’s Materials Technologies Group has resulted in a U.S. Patent. Matt Weisenberger and John Craddock received the patent award for their project entitled “apparatus and method for harvesting carbon nanotube arrays.” The discovery will allow scientists to create large nanotube arrays that will play an integral role in creating high-value composite materials.

CAER hosts seminar on Textile Electronic System Design

clock February 9, 2017 15:13 by author Thomas

On Thursday, UK CAER hosted Dr. Jesse Jur, an Assistant Professor of Textile Engineering, Chemistry & Science at NC State University's College of Textiles, the global leader in textile education and research. His current research focuses on integration of systems electronics into wearable platforms for energy harvesting and monitoring of a person's environmental and physiological state.




The presentation reviewed activity in the NEXT (Nano-Extended Textiles) research group at NC State, focused on the use of engineering design principles to develop integration and materials strategies of electronics in textiles that are industry relevant now and novel techniques that enable future industry growth. Through the examination of those methods at a system level, an understanding of their impact and relevance can be defined and iterated for improved performance. Of particular interest is the development of sensing systems that harvest energy from the human body. The performance of the textile electronics in relation to complex human scenarios, based on the user’s activity and external environment, are assessed to understand sensing performance and self-powered strategies.

Center Receives ACAA’s Champion Award

clock February 8, 2017 15:19 by author Thomas

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research was recently selected as the fifth recipient of the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA) Champion Award. Established in 2012, the Champion Award recognizes extraordinary contributions to the beneficial use of coal combustion products.

The recipient is selected exclusively by the Chair of the ACAA Board of Directors and is known only to the Chair until the moment the presentation is made. ACAA Chairman Charles Price praised the UK CAER team for its decades of support for beneficial use of coal combustion products.

“Selecting a recipient for the ACAA Champion Award is not easy. Past chairs of this association will agree that when you start to draft a list of potential recipients the list gets very long very quickly,” said Price. “After careful consideration I have selected an organization that has provided decades of research, education, and training. This organization has had a particular focus on practical solutions which impact markets both today and into the future.”

Senior Research Engineer Bob Jewell accepted the award at ACAA’s 2017 winter meeting on behalf of the Center’s Materials Technologies Group.

CAER’s Materials Technologies Group specializes in developing construction materials from a wide variety of CCPs. The Center has also become a valued strategic partner for ACAA, cosponsoring the international World of Coal Ash conference and symposium since 2005 and, more recently, in development of special topic conferences and creation of the Coal Combustion and Gasification Products Journal.

New paper published in the CCGP Journal

clock February 2, 2017 13:33 by author Alice

Effect of Coal Fly Ash Leachate on the Bioluminescence Intensity of Vibrio fischeri

Authors:  Shiro Ikeda, Irena Kostova, Hideaki Sekine, Yoshika Sekine

Coal fly ash is a residue of coal-fired thermoelectric power plants (TPPs) and is mostly dumped in ash ponds or landfill sites, even though it potentially contains significant amounts of water-soluble hazardous contaminants. Bioassay using the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri is known to be applicable for assessing the short-term and sublethal toxicity of complex mixtures without the need for precise chemical characterization. However, this type of bioassay is potentially adversely influenced by the pH-induced protein denaturation of cells. Because coal fly ash leachates often have alkaline or acidic properties, when applying the V. fischeri–based bioassay to the samples, we need to know potential effect of the leachates on the bioluminescence of the bacteria. This study accordingly aimed to investigate the feasibility of applying the V. fischeri bioassay to coal fly ash leachate
as a screening method. Fly ash samples were collected from 12 TPPs located in three East European countries: Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia.


The fly ash samples were prepared in sterilized distilled water by ultrasonic extraction and filtration using 0.45-mmΦ membrane filters. The filtrates were then mixed with a solution of the test bacterium. The bioluminescence intensity was measured using a luminometer. The results showed the ostensible influence of pH on bioluminescence intensity pronounced when following the typical protocol using a 5.0‐g/L solid:liquid ratio. Accordingly, the pH of water extracts should be adjusted to within a range of 6 to 9 by dilution to observe the inhibition of bioluminescence by coal fly ash leachate as the objective endpoint.


The full-text of the paper may be viewed/downloaded at the Coal Combustion and Gasification Products journal website:

The CCGP journal is jointly published by the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UKCAER) and the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA).