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.

Edrington Takes Second Place in Poster Competition

clock September 15, 2016 08:46 by author Thomas

UK CAER’s Sarah Edrington, a mechanical engineering graduate student at UK, placed second in the graduate category at the Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Composites Conference and Exhibition's student poster competition. Sarah was recognized for her poster entitled: “PAN Precursor Draw During Spinning: Effects on Mechanical Properties and Morphology of Resultant Carbon Fiber.” Sarah, who does research as part of CAER’s Carbon Materials Group, will continue her work with PAN carbon fiber precursor spinning as part of her thesis.




Workshop to Focus on Issues with Ponded Coal Combustion Products

clock September 13, 2016 11:34 by author Thomas

The UK Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER), American Coal Ash Association (ACAA), and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) are co-hosting a workshop this November to shine a spotlight on current issues with coal combustion products (CCPs).

The Midwest Workshop on Current Issues in Ponded CCPs will be held November 1-2 at the Radisson Hotel Cincinnati Riverfront.

The workshop will feature some of the world’s leading experts on coal combustion products. For a full list of speakers and to register for the event, check out the following website: http://www.worldofcoalash.org/ash/.

 (photo courtesy of Moretrench)



UK Center for Applied Energy Research Awarded Four Patents

clock September 6, 2016 14:48 by author Thomas

UK CAER researchers received four patents in August, out of a schoolwide-total of seven:

  • Darrell Taulbee and Robert Hodgen for “Enhancement of binding characteristics for production of an agglomerated product” (#9,428,705)
  • Steve Lipka and Christopher Schwartz for “Hybrid flow battery and Mn/Mn electrolyte system” (#9,413,025)
  • Joseph Remais, Cameron Lippert, and Kunlei Liu for “Method of increasing mass transfer rate of acid gas scrubbing solvents” (#9,409,125)
  • Kunlei Liu, Reynold Frimpong, and Kun Liu for “Hybrid process using a membrane to enrich flue gas CO2 with a solvent-based post-combustion CO2 capture system” (#9,409,120)

 These patents join the more than three-dozen patents already held by CAER researchers over the years.



UKCAER Alumnus Gives Talk on Patent Law

clock September 1, 2016 16:33 by author Alice

Dr. Rakesh Mehta (PhD, JD) from BakerHostetler located in Philadelphia, discussed patent law with University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research scientists and engineers. His specialty is chemical, materials, pharmaceutical, and mechanical patents. The title of his presentation was Patents Deconstructed—The What, the Why, the If, the When. He stated that confusion prevails when it comes to patents. If we can help deconstruct what patenting is, all will have gained something.

Rakesh Mehta is an alumnus of not only University of Kentucky, but also of CAER. His MS in 1994 was under CAER’s Dr. B.K. Parekh and PhD was under Dr. Kalika, chair of UK Chemical and Materials, in 1996. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship from Virginia Tech in 1997 under Dr. James McGrath in polymeric composites and joined DuPont as Research Engineer, where he spent seven years at the famous DuPont Experimental Station. He completed his JD simultaneously while working at DuPont and since 2004, has been practicing law, particularly intellectual property, first in Washington DC and then in Philadelphia area law firms. Currently, he is a Counsel at Baker Hostetler LLP, an AMLAW 100 firm with fourteen offices and about 950 lawyers.



UK CAER focus of CN2 feature

clock August 22, 2016 10:08 by author Thomas

 

Article - http://mycn2.com/politics/center-for-applied-research-focuses-on-kentucky-s-future-energy-needs-and-resources

 

CN|2's Don Weber covered the Kentucky Legislature's Special Subcommittee on Energy's meeting at the University of Kentucky's Center for Applied Energy Research. Following a business meeting where CAER Director Rodney Andrews gave a presentation on the Center's mission and activities in the past and in coming years, the group toured CAER's labs and grounds. There, legislators -- and Mr. Weber -- met with CAER scientists to get an up-close look at the operations there.

 

 



Center for Applied Energy Research Hosts Kentucky Energy Subcommittee

clock August 19, 2016 14:32 by author Thomas

 

The UK Center for Applied Energy Research hosted members of Kentucky’s Special Subcommittee on Energy on Friday for an update on Center’s research and development activities. The Subcommittee, comprised of members of both the Kentucky Senate and House of Representatives, heard a UK CAER presentation from Director Rodney Andrews and toured the Center’s research facilities.

 



UK CAER Staff Member Spends Summer Spinning Webs

clock August 17, 2016 09:05 by author Thomas

Ashley Morris, a senior research engineer in the UK Center for Applied Energy Research’s Materials Technologies Group, has spent the summer in the Bay Area serving as Interim Director of Fiber Spinning for synthetic spider silk startup, Bolt Threads.

Morris honed her skills over the past 8 years while developing UK CAER’s world class solution spinning line and has become an expert in the field of solution spinning (often used for the production of acrylic fibers, which can then be converted into carbon fiber). That experience provided her an opportunity to spend the summer at Bolt Threads, a venture backed startup producing synthetic spider silk, which is known to be five times stronger than steel and tougher than Kevlar.

Bolt’s scientists use recombinant technology to modify the genetic code of spider genes that make silk proteins and insert them into a strain of yeast. Fed with sugar and water and left to ferment, the yeast expresses the spider silk protein, which is then spun into fibers and converted into yarns for textiles. The company can tune the properties of the silk, making it, for example, “stretchier” or stronger, based on the genes inserted into the yeast.

Founded in 2009 and based in Emeryville, California, Bolt recently announced a partnership with Patagonia to develop goods from their proprietary spider silk-inspired fibers and textiles.

“Bolt Threads has offered me a terrific opportunity to work alongside some of the world’s top scientists and engineers in the field of biotechnology,” said Morris. “I am thankful for the opportunity to showcase leadership and technical skills gained at UK in a fast-paced startup environment, and the overall experience has made me a better researcher.” 



Donor Creates Award Program, Honoring Long-time Staff Member Marybeth McAlister

clock August 11, 2016 15:33 by author Alice

An anonymous donor has created a new award program at the UK Center for Applied Research (CAER), which is designed to recognize and honor staff excellence.

The program is named in honor of Marybeth McAlister, long-time Director of Communications for UK CAER. Called the Marybeth McAlister Memorial Outstanding Staff Award, the program will recognize one member of UK CAER’s support staff with this annual award each year.

“We are very grateful to have a donor step up and want to do something to honor both Marybeth’s legacy and current staff here at UK CAER,” said David Melanson, Assistant Director for External Affairs and Development. “I think such generosity speaks volumes to what staff do for the Center each and every day.”

Marybeth McAlister is remembered by her colleagues for her selfless spirit, empathy, attention to detail, and kind disposition. In short, the donor felt that naming this staff award in her honor was appropriate.

“We at the Center knew that Marybeth was someone we could always count on – no matter the situation,” said the donor.

In accepting this gift, the Center has committed to raise additional funding to ensure this program will continue in perpetuity.

If others would like to honor Marybeth and support this outstanding staff award program, contact Dave Melanson, Assistant Director for External Affairs and Development, at david.melanson@uky.edu or donate online at https://www.uky.edu/GiveNow/ (under Gift Information, select “Research” and then the “Marybeth McAlister Staff Award Gift Fund”).



UKCAER Seminar - Recent Developments in Emission Control

clock August 4, 2016 09:21 by author Alice

DATE: Monday, August 8, 2016
TIME: 3:15 – 4:30 pm
WHERE: Ben Bandy Conference Room, Lab 1

TITLE: Recent Developments in Emission Control
SPEAKER: Dr. Christine Lambert, Ford Motor Co.

ABSTRACT: Modern emission control devices for gasoline and diesel powertrains evolved over decades of development to meet ever more stringent emission standards. For example, the U.S. standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx) have decreased by 97% from 1974 to 2004. The most well-known device, the three-way catalyst, is used under stoichiometric conditions of spark-ignited engines and controls hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Newer devices include diesel oxidation catalysts, Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems for NOx, and diesel soot filters. The latest diesel emissions certifications in the U.S. include multifunctional devices like diesel soot filters with SCR catalytic coating. As emission standards continue to tighten in U.S., Europe, and China, research is focusing on HC traps, low temperature NOx adsorbers, N2O mitigation, and gasoline soot filters.



Latest Paper Published by CCGP Journal

clock July 26, 2016 11:52 by author Alice

The Coal Combustion and Gasification Products journal has published the following paper:

Distribution of Uranium and Other Radionuclides in Coal and Coal Combustion Products, with Discussion of Occurrences of Combustion Products in Kentucky Power Plants written by authors: James C. Hower, Shigeng Dai, Greta Eskenazy.

Abstract: Uranium and thorium are part of the mineral assemblages within coals. Uranium can also occur in organic associations, particularly in low-rank coals. While the average U concentration in coals is 2.9 ppm for low-rank coals and 1.9 ppm for bituminous and higher rank coals, high concentrations are known from certain low-rank and thin coals and from coals in areas associated with U mineralization. No high-U coals are mined for power production in the United States. Uranium and Th in coal combustion products are found in amounts more or less in proportion to their concentrations in the feed coal. Not being volatile elements, both U and Th are concentrated in the

Full text of article is at the CCGP Journal



UKCAER Tours Students from the Chinese University of Mining and Technology

clock July 25, 2016 18:20 by author Alice


The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research hosted a tour of 60 students from the Chinese University of Mining and Technology. The group is part of a two week Study Abroad program for the undergraduates and six faculty from CUMT (Chinese University of Mining and Technology). The UK Mining Engineering Department is working with the UK College of Business to host the group.



Summer Partnership with Kentucky State University

clock July 21, 2016 09:49 by author Thomas


Kazi Javed, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Kentucky State University (KSU), has always been committed to bringing science to life for his students. This summer, he is doing just that thanks to a unique partnership with the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER).


Dr. Javed, who teaches an analytical instrumentation class at KSU, is volunteering in the Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group here at UK CAER this summer. With a focus in the classroom on instrument design and method development, Dr. Javed is bringing KSU students to UK CAER’s lab this summer to introduce them and train them on instrumentation not available at KSU.

 

Joining Dr. Javed from KSU are four students: Ma’Kaylah Garrett, a biology student from Indianapolis, Indiana; Steven Hall, a mechanical engineering student from Frankfort, Kentucky; Andrew Lentini, a mechanical engineering student from Shelbyville, Kentucky; and Siraj Ramsey, a mechanical engineering student from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The mechanical engineering students are taking part in KSU and UK’s joint program, where the students attend KSU for three years and UK for two years. Participants receive a bachelor’s in mathematics from KSU and a UK engineering bachelor’s degree.

 

This collaborative work was made possible thanks to National Science Foundation grants entitled “MRI: Acquisition of a Gas Chromatograph with Dual Detection Capabilities to be Used in Sustainable Energy Research” (award number 1531637) and “SusChEM: Promotion of Nickel Catalysts for the Conversion of Biomass-derived Oils to Fuel-like Hydrocarbons” (award number 1437604). 



CCGP Journal Publishes Morpho-Chemistry and Microstructure of Bottom Ash

clock July 18, 2016 15:00 by author Alice

MORPHO-CHEMISTRY AND MICROSTRUCTURE OF MAGNETIC CONCENTRATES OF BOTTOM ASH SAMPLES OF THERMAL POWER PLANTS, ODISHA

Author: Subir Kumar Das, from CSIR - Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology, Bhubaneswar, India

Abstract: Magnetic particles in silico-aluminous bottom ash samples (NT-BA and HR-BA samples) of two thermal power plants of Talcher area, Odisha, India have been studied for determination of their concentration, morphology, internal structure and phase mineral composition. The amounts of magnetic concentrates in NT-BA and HR-BA samples are 25.7 and 4.03% respectively and the former particles are relatively coarse grained. In NT-BA sample, most of the magnetic particles are ideal solid spheres (ferrosphere) with diverse morphological features: smooth, skeletal, dendritic, octahedral, polygonal, granular, and spotted. The magnetic particles of HR-BA sample are fine grained, irregular to angular, mostly associated with glass matrix

The magnetite crystals occur as fine streaks, laths, lamellae and needles. Examination of the inner structure of the ferrospheres and irregular magnetic particles of concentrates of both the samples revealed that the magnetite crystals have different geometric patterns and association with different mineral phases indicating variations in crystallisation conditions in the combustion chamber. The magnetite crystals of HR-BA sample are extensively martitised. The EDS results indicated that in the magnetite, Fe is the dominant element with small amounts of Mn, Mg, Ca and Ti. These elements occur as diadochic replacement of ferrous ion in the magnetite crystal structure.

The glass coexisting with magnetite has highly variable chemical compositions mainly with respect to Si, Al and Fe; few glass particles are enriched in Fe. Detrital quartz grains are occasionally observed within the magnetic particles. The magnetite oxide crystallites in ferrospheres are derived from the decomposition and oxidation of iron-bearing minerals such as pyrite and clays minerals in feed coal during combustion in the thermal power plants.

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

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



UKCAER Researchers Receive Swagelok Training

clock July 15, 2016 10:45 by author Alice
The Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis research group - at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research - hosted Mike Sallee from Swagelok for the 4th annual CAER Swagelok seminar. It focused on how to use tubing and tube fittings appropriately with an emphasis on safety. This seminar is very informational for staff and students alike. Many BEC staff go each time the class is offered because it is a good refresher and something new is learned. Thirteen people were in attendance this year (July 14).



CAER Hosts Southern Legislative Conference Attendees

clock July 12, 2016 15:55 by author Thomas


The UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) was pleased to host Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) attendees for a center tour on Tuesday, July 12. Lexington is serving as host of the 70th annual SLC Annual Meeting July 9-13 and, as part of the meeting, conference attendees took part in technical tours.

The Southern Legislative Conference of The Council of State Governments was established in 1947 and comprises presiding officers and key legislators from 15 Southern states. The SLC is a non-partisan organization located in Atlanta, Georgia.



Successful Workshop on Thermal Carbons Hosted at UKCAER

clock July 12, 2016 11:12 by author Alice

The Workshop on Thermal Carbons - hosted by the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research in Lexington, Kentucky - boasted of excellent speakers and current, relevant topics such as industrial carbons and fibers, thermoelectrics, heat spreaders, etc. The 1 1/2 day workshop was scheduled prior to the Carbon 2016 Conference and it included a technical poster session, a demo of the UKCAER Carbon Spinline process, a tour of the UKCAER Renewables Laboratory and a reception of the historical UK Spindletop Hall. Speakers included:

  • Dr. Julian Norley, GrafTech International Holdings, Inc. – Industrial Thermal Management Applications for Carbon and Graphite Materials
  • Dr. Dayakar Penumadu, University of Tennessee, Knoxville – Structure-Mechanical Property Relationship for Carbon Fibers
  • Dr. Soeren Koester, Superior Graphite - Graphitized Granular Carbon in PA6 and PPS
  • Dr. Nidia C. Gallego, Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Characterizing the Thermal Properties of Carbon Bonded Carbon Fibers (CBCF)
  • Dr. Alexandre Martin, University of Kentucky - Modeling of Ablative Material for Atmospheric Entry Flows
  • Prof. Gajanan Bhat, The University of Tennessee Knoxville - Processing, Structure and Properties of Rayon-Based Carbon Fibers
  • Mr. Keith Roberts, WDI Directorate, AMRDEC - The History of Rayon Replacement for Carbon Fiber Reinforced Ablative Materials
  • Dr. Simon Chung, Materials Sciences Corp. - Fiber Reinforced Composite Materials with Integrated Heat Spreaders
  • Dr. David L. Carroll, Wake Forest University - Advances in Carbon Nanotube Thermoelectrics
  • Mr. Ruben Sarabia-Riquelme, University of Kentucky - N-Type Thermoelectric Materials Based on MWCNTs
  • Prof. Joe Brill, University of Kentucky - Inverted Anisotropy in Thermal Conductivity of Layered Molecular Organic Semiconductors
  • Prof. Bert Lynn, University of Kentucky - The Chemistry of Whiskeys (Why is Bourbon Different?)
  • Mr. Jarrad Gollihue, University of Kentucky -Current Research and Understanding of Bourbon Whiskey and Its Barrel
  • Dr. Pat Heist, Ferm Solutions - The Science of Making Bourbon




Davis, Jacobs Present on Fischer-Tropsch in Norway

clock June 22, 2016 14:31 by author Thomas

Two members of the UK Center for Applied Energy Research’s Clean Fuels and Chemical Group were invited to present their research at the Natural Gas Conversion Symposium 11 in Tromso, Norway from June 5-9. 

Burt Davis, Associate Director, provided an oral presentation and presented a research poster on the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis process.

Gary Jacobs, a Principal Research Engineer at the Center, provided a plenary lecture and presented a research poster as well. In addition, Dr. Jacobs was nominated to serve on the Natural Gas Conversion Board. 



Power Plant Emissions and Mine Reclamation Topics Covered by CCGP Journal

clock June 2, 2016 16:10 by author Alice


Two new papers have just been published on the Coal Combustion and Gasification Products journal:

- Influence of Coal-Fired Power Plant Emissions Regulations and Consequent Engineering Controls and Coal-Supply Modifications on Fly Ash Chemistry and Petrology: Examples from Kentucky Power Plants - Authors: Madison M. Hood, John G. Groppo, Michelle N. Johnston, James C. Hower, Herek L. Clack, Diego S. de Medeiros, Silvio R. Taffarel, Cesar M.N.L. Cutruneo, Luis F.O. Silva (pp8-18)

- Analysis of Scientific Investigations Related to Reclamation of Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act Permitted Coal Mines with Coal Combustion By-Products - Authors: Kimery C. Vories (pp19-29)

These papers can be read at the CCGP journal Web Address: http://www.coalcgp-journal.org.


Center Helps Train Kentucky Science Teachers

clock June 2, 2016 12:29 by author Thomas

It may be summer but school is most certainly in session at UK CAER. But in this classroom, it is the teachers that are the pupils.

UK CAER researchers are taking part in a Kentucky Council for Post-secondary Education (CPE)-funded program to train science and mathematics teachers how to teach energy in the classroom. The program, Energy is Elementary, is a partnership between the UK College of Education and CAER, and is taking place at the Center from June 1-3.  This grant has afforded the Center the opportunity, to expand the current CAER 101 program to a total of 11 schools. The CAER 101 program gives our researchers the opportunity to be present in the classroom and inspire 4th grade students to become scientists while having fun and learning the basics of energy.



Winburn Problem Solvers Team Visits CAER

clock May 25, 2016 08:44 by author Thomas

Students from Winburn Middle School's Future Problem Solvers team spent some time at UK's Center for Applied Energy Research on May 17 to help prepare for an international competition. The students spent time with representatives from CAER, DEDI and the Association of MISO States to learn about the future of the energy industry.

 

 

The students are training for a problem solving competition that will take place June 1-5 at Michigan State University. The contest will feature a question about energy and the students came to CAER to learn as much as they can about that topic.

"We tried to provide as much useful information about energy as we could," said Shiela Medina, Assistant Director of Policy and Engagement for the Center. "It was a pleasure to host such a bright and inquisitive group of students. I can't wait to see how they do at their competition."