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 Undergraduate Researcher Receives AIPG Scholarship

clock May 29, 2018 13:46 by author Thomas

 

 

Madison Hood, a University of Kentucky senior majoring in Earth & Environmental Sciences and undergraduate researcher at the UK Center for Applied Energy Research, received the Kentucky Chapter of the American Institute of Professional Geologists scholarship award at the Kentucky Geological Survey’s Annual Meeting on May 18. Hood, a Lexington native, has been a researcher at UK CAER since she was in high school. Her mentor is Jim Hower, longtime UK CAER scientist and a Research Professor in UK’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

 



UK CAER Grant Seeks to Reduce Carbon Capture Costs

clock May 22, 2018 14:25 by author Thomas

 

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER) received a $3.7 million United States Department of Energy (DOE) grant to develop an intensified process to significantly reduce the capital and operational costs associated with CO2 capture.

This project, funded through DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory, is entitled, "A Process with Decoupling Absorber Kinetics and Solvent Regeneration through Membrane Dewatering and In-Column Heat Transfer." James Landon, a Principal Research Engineer at UK CAER, and Kunlei Liu, Associate Director for Research, are co-principal investigators on this grant.

 

The project will investigate the intensification of amine-based CO2 capture from coal-fired power plants to reduce the capital and operational cost associated with CO2 capture through the use of innovative packing materials to enhance CO2 absorption into the solvent, dewatering of rich solution prior to stripper to reduce solvent regeneration energy, and heat integration to lower the steam requirements of the process. This technology will be demonstrated at the bench-scale at UK CAER through modification to the Center's coal-fired 0.1 MWth post-combustion carbon capture unit.

"The successful development of the proposed technology will allow for the utilization of abundant, low-cost coal to produce reliable electricity, while affordably meeting and managing environmental concerns," said Dr. Liu..

Enabling low-energy and low-cost carbon dioxide capture units is critical in the development of advanced coal-based power generation facilities. The research investigated through this project as well as the collaborations and integration of process components will help improve carbon capture technology available to utility companies. This process could be applied to most advanced solvents (aqueous or non-aqueous) and flue gas derived from either coal or natural gas combustion.

"If successful, this project could significantly change how we capture carbon," said Dr. Landon. "Creating an integrated process that captures CO2 while utilizing less energy in that process is critical to ensuring commercial scale carbon capture technology becomes a reality. This research is the next step in that technological continuum."

Project collaborators include the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Media and Process Technology, Smith Management Group, and Trimeric. 

 



UK CAER Technology Licensed by International Chemical Company

clock May 9, 2018 13:35 by author Thomas

LUXFER MEL Technologies, a global producer and supplier of inorganic materials, has licensed technology from the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy (UK CAER) that shows great promise in reducing vehicle emissions.

The licensing agreement concerns patented materials which can function as passive nitrogen oxide (NOx) adsorbers, a catalyst-based system that helps reduce NOx at low temperatures. The technology was created out of a collaboration between UK CAER’s Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis research group, led by Mark Crocker, and LUXFER MEL Technologies Research Division. Funding for the work was provided by the National Science foundation and the Department of Energy under the auspices of the NSF/DOE Partnership on Advanced Combustion Engines.



The technology shows potential for reducing the NOx emitted by vehicles during so-called cold starts. One of the problems with traditional NOx mitigation systems is that they do not reduce emissions at low temperatures. This new technology seeks to solve this problem.

LUXFER MEL Technologies is based in Manchester, United Kingdom and supplies zirconium-based chemicals across the world. The company conducts research and development and manufacturing on three continents.LUXFER MEL Technologies products are utilized in a variety of applications including automotive catalysis, electronics, structural and functional ceramics, paper production, chemical catalysis, solid oxide fuel cells, water purification and many more.



Federal Funding to Expand UK CAER Carbon Capture Research

clock May 2, 2018 11:39 by author Thomas

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research was one of nine organizations selected to receive Phase I funding of a three-phase project as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fossil Fuel Large-Scale Pilot program.

UK CAER will receive over $940,000 from DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to advance its world-renowned carbon dioxide capture research and development.

According to principal investigator Kunlei Liu, this Phase I funding will allow UK CAER to advance its four-pronged CO2 capture system to a 10 megawatt scale. UK CAER’s Power Generation Research Group is a global leader in building, developing and demonstrating post-combustion carbon capture systems. In fact, UK CAER’s current 0.7 megawatt small pilot CO2 capture facility operates at Kentucky Utilities’ E.W. Brown Generating Station in Burgin, Kentucky has led to scientific and engineering breakthroughs in the field.



This new federal funding will allow UK CAER to advance that research by nearly ten times, leaving the technology only one step away from commercialization. 

“This project will allow us to leverage the unique carbon dioxide capture expertise we have developed at UK CAER over the past decade to tackle a new and exciting next step in its implementation,” said Heather Nikolic, a Principal Research Engineer at UK CAER.

The Center’s post-combustion system features modular equipment and free-standing columns with built-in advanced controls to continually minimize the CO2 capture energy penalty while responding to a dynamic external demand. The new system will combine several facets to simultaneously address capital cost, energy consumption, load change, and environmental impact.

“I often remind our team that this project would not be possible without the many partners who have assisted us and collaborated with our researchers over the years,” said Dr. Liu, Associate Director for Research at UK CAER and Associate Professor in UK’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. “This project is another great example of that. In addition to our colleagues at DOE, we will be partnering with several institutions and industry partners to ensure success.”

Project collaborators include LG&E and Kentucky Utilities, Carbon Clean Solutions, University of Texas-Austin, Membrane Technology Research, Electric Power Research Institute, Huaneng Clean Energy Research Institute, Koch Modular Process Systems, Worley Parsons, and Smith Management Group.

“UK CAER has made many contributions to the scientific and engineering community, including through efforts to advance clean coal and carbon capture technologies, which are very important to Kentucky,' said Senator McConnell. 'The University of Kentucky, under the leadership of President Eli Capilouto, continues to do impressive work on this issue, and I've been told its current carbon capture project is already producing results. I look forward to seeing what UK CAER is able to accomplish with these new federal resources.”



Georgetown College Lab Class Tours UK CAER

clock May 2, 2018 10:18 by author Thomas

 

 

An environmental chemistry lab class under the direction of Dr. David Fraley of Georgetown College toured the UK CAER on Wednesday, April 25th.  The focus of the visit was to introduce them to the working principles of the Dual Detection SimDist-MS through the use of visual training modules.  The instrument was purchased by the BEC group through NSF award no. 1531637.  The students then took a guided tour of other CAER facilities including the biofuels lab, dry room, gasification building, spinline building and the greenhouse.



UK CAER's Dr. Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez awarded Faculty Mentor of the Week

clock May 2, 2018 10:00 by author Thomas

UK CAER's Dr. Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez of the Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group has been named Faculty Mentor of the Week. His mentoring work has impacted students from UK and abroad, from high school to graduate students, and in his work as the director of an NSF-funded mentoring program for under-represented groups.

The full write-up can be found on the Office of Undergraduate Research's Faculty Mentor of the Week webpage.