CAER researchers Anne Oberlink and Liz Harman-Ware reached out to high school girls at the EKU Girls’ STEM Day recently. The scientists were accompanied by two high girls who recently toured CAER. STEM practitioners and educators led girls through activities that mirror real-world STEM tasks and highlight creative and innovative problem solving. Anne and Liz exhibited and served as mentors.
Anne (left) and Liz
The Cooperative Research Network and the Centre for Energy Advancement through Technological Innovation research organizations held task force meetings at CAER. Both of these organizations are created to perform research and solve problems for the electric utility industry. The CRN’s members are the Rural Electric Cooperatives and the task force that met at CAER is the Generation, Fuels and Environment Group. CEATI is a similar group made up of international utilities. A portion of their time was also spent in presentations on CAER research and an in depth tour.
Elementary, middle school, and high school students from around the area monitored building efficiency, saw how fresh flowers can freeze quickly via liquid nitrogen, and discovered that algae is not just pond scum during tours of CAER this spring.
The students hailed from Russell Cave Elementary, which celebrates its decade long partnership with CAER this year; Clark County Middle School through its partnership with Bluegrass PRIDE; and a group of female high school students from Fayette County’s “Green Team.”
There were around 150 students in total. While the tours were more detailed to suit the groups’ grade level, all seemed fascinated by the science. The students were impressed when told that the newest building on CAER’s research campus uses around 60 percent of the energy for a regular building its size. They were equally as enthralled with the idea that algae could be used to capture carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
In addition to the demonstrations, researchers discussed their backgrounds, education, careers, and the need for future energy experts.
May 21, 2013 13:33 by Alice
UKNOW Story on Fourth-Graders Get hands-on Science at CAER.
This is the 10th year of the partnership between Russell Cave Elementary School and the UK CAER.
Michelle Johnston and Trent Garrison, MS & PhD students, respectively, in Earth & Environmental Sciences and doing their research in the CAER's Applied Petrology Lab, received awards from the Geological Society of America's Coal Geology Division. Michelle is the recipient of the GSA Coal Division’s Antoinette Lierman Medlin Lab/Analytical Research Award. The selection is for her work to characterize the coal macerals and ultimately understanding of peat accumulation and depositional environment for the Leatherwood coal. The amount of the award is $1,500.
Trent is the recipient of the GSA Coal Division’s Antoinette Lierman Medlin Field Award for his work to examine water quality impacts in area of coal fires. The amount of the award is $1,000. This is the second time that CAER petrology students have won both Medlin Awards. Jen O'Keefe and Sarah Mardon swept the awards in 2006.
This year's Sustainability Expo took place at Locust Trace Agriscience Farm, a local Fayette County public school that focuses on agricultural resources and the environment. CAER participated with staff explaining energy sustainability to children from the school.
On March second Marsha Grimminger, of the Electrochemistry Group, designed questions related to a science challenge geared toward high school chemistry students for Bluegrass Community and Technical College's Regional Science Olympiad. They were not told of the specific topic before the event. The 18 students collected data through experimentation and compared results.
Petrologist Jim Hower and Eastern Kentucky Regional Coordinator Greg Copley are assisting Jon Thorson, UK Pharmacy, in locating and sampling extreme environments in Kentucky. Such sites include soils associated with coal mine fires; waters associated with swamps, sulfur springs, acid mine drainage; and the spoils from lead and zinc mining. Thorson’s research group is hoping to isolate previously unknown antibiotics and other drugs from microorganisms in the environment. Recent sampling took place in Owen and Henry Counties.
Here Madan Kharel (Pharmacy) is obtaining a sample while CAER's John Hiett stands ready to assist.
Congratulations to Rachel Hatch, M.S. candidate, who was just awarded a $2,000 graduate student grant from the Geological Society of America for her proposal entitled: “Effects of petroleum hydrocarbon exposure following the Deepwater Horizon spill on tidal marsh sedimentary and biological processes: An investigation using radioisotopes and benthic foraminifera.”
Rachel worked in the petrology lab for two years as an undergraduate.
Turner Construction Company, a general contractor firm based in Lexington, was recognized for its construction manager involvement with the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) Renwable Energy Research Lab. The construction of the new 43,000 square foot, high-performance laboratory will lower operation costs of CAER, while increasing education about the numerous energy technologies implemented in the building.
Four local high school students who were mentored by University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research scientists have proved experience gain by working in laboratories with mentors is invaluable.
Valerie Sarge, a junior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, placed first in the Energy and Transportation category at the Central Kentucky Regional Science and Engineering Fair, going on to win first place in the same category at the state competition. This qualifies her to go on to Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) to be held in Phoenix. Valerie was mentored by Chemistry Professor/CAER Faculty Associate, John Anthony. In her work with the solar energy group she is using organic compounds called furan-based materials. These can be derived from agricultural waste products to create new semiconductors for use in low-cost solar cells. She is has been working on synthesis, but may soon move toward creating solar cells.
Will Kimmerer, a ninth grader at Sayre School, won top awards at the regional and state fairs in the Environmental Science category, including second in the Physical Sciences category. Kimmerer is interested in water purification and obtained carbon material samples for use in his project from CAER working closely with Director Rodney Andrews during the project. He was selected for the I-SWEEP 2013 conference (International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project) in Houston, where he will present his work. Additionally, he was selected for the Stockholm Junior Water Award.
Additionally, two Dunbar CAER interns placed well at the regional level and went on to compete at the state competition. Rohin Lohe placed first in the "Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering" category, and went on to place third at the state competition. Lohe will compete at the Kentucky Junior Academy of Sciences on April 27th. John Luan also won in the “Energy and Transportation” category at regionals.
Matt Weisenberger, Associate Director for Carbon Materials, is mentoring Lohe with a project titled "Finite Element Analysis of Heat Conduction through Interfaces: Modeling and Experimental Verification with Stainless Steel, Copper, and Multiwall Carbon Nanotube Arrays as Thermal Interface Materials." Lohe has been conducting his research at the UK CAER laboratory facilities and working directly with the Carbon Materials Research staff in completing the tests.
Finally, Lohe’s project included part of the expertise gained while working with CAER’s Electrochemical Power Sources group under the direction of Associate Director Steve Lipka. John is working on a project entitled “Carbon-based Capacitive Thin Films for AC Line Filtering” in which the goal is to demonstrate whether carbon-based supercapacitors can be used as a lower-cost, more-dependable replacement for traditional electrolytic capacitors in electronic devices.
Congratulations to CAER graduate student Liz Ware-Harmon. She won first prize for a student poster at the 2013 Workshop on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in Louisville at the KY International Convention Center. It was hosted by the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the University of Louisville. The paper was titled,"Pyrolysis-GC/MS Characterization of Bioenergy Crops," and was co-authored with Mark Crocker and Seth Debolt.
CAER researcher Robert Pace also presented a poster titled, "Qualitative Evaluation of Biomass Solubility Trends Among Dialkyl Imidazolium Chloride Ionic Liquids: A Microscopy Based Approach." It was co-authored by Mark Crocker, Samuel A. Morton III, Andrew J. Placido, Andrew R. Sharits (There were no awards given in the professional category.)
The University of Kentucky helped to support this meeting.
March 18, 2013 17:14 by Alice
New Position for a Post Doc Scientist now advertised from the Power Generation Research Group at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research.
March 11, 2013 10:13 by Alice
Will Kimmerer, a Lexington high school student, won top awards at a recent regional science fair held in Lexington, Kentucky. Will secured carbon material samples for use in his project from University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research and worked closely with CAER Director, Dr. Rodney Andrews, during the project's progression.
At the Central Kentucky Regional Science and Engineering Fair held March 2, 2013, Will was awarded the top prize in the high school Environmental Science category. He was selected for the I-SWEEP 2013 conference (International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project). He will present his work in Houston in May 2013.
Additionally Will was selected for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. He will compete at the state science fair against seven other Stockholm winners for a chance to present at a conference in Chicago in June 2013. And finally, he will advance to compete at the State Science and Engineering Fair.
March 10, 2013 19:09 by Alice
UK NOW recent story indicates that twenty recent college graduates from across the globe currently are taking part in the inaugural Alltech Graduate Academy, and four of the participants are Kentuckians, including two who are alumni of the University of Kentucky.
One of the recent UK college graduates that was chosen as part of an elite class of emerging leaders in global agribusiness is Daniel Grubb. Daniel, a chemistry major and physics minor at Georgetown College, worked at UK's Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) for three years, helping to devise ways to convert algae into biodiesel using various metal-supported catalysts.
Grubb said, "I learned to manage multiple projects at the same time while at Georgetown, then the opportunity to work alongside people from all over the world at CAER was a tremendous experience."
Read the entire story at UK Now Site: UK, Kentucky Connections Abound in Alltech Program
March 10, 2013 19:02 by Alice
UK Now Story about training the next generation of highly skilled professors and industrial scientists include UK Chemistry Professor John Anthony in the story. He joined other academics across the country who made videos for Science Works for U.S., a website of the Association of American Universities, the Science Coalition and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
More about the story can be found at UK Now Site - UK Researchers Speak Out: Sequester Will Squelch Scientists-in-Training
Dr. Anthony's solar group laboratories are housed in the UK CAER Lab 2 Renewables Building.
March 10, 2013 18:50 by Alice
Rohin Lohe, a high school student from Dunbar High School in Lexington, Kentucky recently competed and placed 1st out of six different projects in the "Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering" category at the Central Regional Science Fair on March 2, 2013. The top two projects qualify for state, so Rohin will be competing again on March 30th. The top 3 overall projects at state will get an all-expense paid trip to the Intel-ISEF science fair.
UK CAER Associate Director in Carbon Materials, Dr. Matt Weisenberger, is mentoring Rohin with a project entitled "Finite Element Analysis of Heat Conduction through Interfaces: Modeling and Experimental Verification with Stainless Steel, Copper, and Multiwall Carbon Nanotube Arrays as Thermal Interface Materials".
Rohin has been conducting his research at the UK CAER laboratory facilities and working directly with the Carbon Materials Research staff in completing the tests. Dr. Weisenberger and the CAER research staff send congratulations to Rohin. We are happy that such mentoring programs help young students be prepared for a potential career path in the science, materials and engineering fields.
Congratulations to Vence Easterling for receiving his Ph.D. in chemical engineering. Associate Director for Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis, Mark Crocker, was his co-advisor. Vence performed research throughout his graduate student career at CAER. His dissertation title was "The Effects of Ceria Addition on Aging and Sulfation of Lean NOx Traps for Stand Alone and LNT-SCR Applications. He also performed research at Ford Motor Company.