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.
March 1, 2013 16:11 by Alice
The 2013 BAE Mid-West Regional Rally - attended by various BAE student branches from such states as Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and others - toured the UK CAER facilities and met with research scientists on March 1, 2013. They spoke with Rodney Andrews, UK CAER Director and then toured the new CAER Lab #2 Renewables Building. They spoke with scientists from the Biofuels research area as well as a tour of the CAER Greenhouse. They also toured the Minerals Processing and Carbon SpinLine Buildings and finished with a tour of the Power Generation lab.
The Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Mid-West Rally is held each year in a different state to promote networking by holding meetings and tours to allow the students to learn about various engineering-related activities in the host state. UK BAE Professor, Dr. Czarena Crofcheck, organized the tour.
February 19, 2013 14:11 by Alice
Dr. Jennifer O’Keefe of Morehead State University was just awarded an NSF EPSCoR Regional Research Enhancement Grant (R-REG). Dr. O'Keefe is a collaborating researcher with Dr. James Hower, in the UK CAER Petrology Laboratory.
The grant will provide summer support for EES grad student Michelle Johnston, who also works at the UK CAER Petrology Lab. In addition to Dr. O'Keefe mentoring Michelle; Michelle will, in turn, be helping to mentor two of Jennifer’s female undergrad students.
The project will study the development of ancient organic sediments through palynology/mycology, organic petrography, geochemistry, and stratigraphic relationships, allowing them to explore past climate systems and predict future events. Beyond characterizing past and predicting future climate systems, they will explore small-scale (and sometimes large scale) perturbations of the carbon cycle through the interactions of plants with their decomposers.
February 19, 2013 14:06 by Alice
Three-dimensional models created at the University of Kentucky showing groundwater cleanup progress at a Department of Energy (DOE) Paducah site, home to the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, are on display at West Kentucky Community and Technical College.
The exhibit of models and informational posters is designed to help people understand the difficulty and complexity of groundwater cleanup, said Steve Hampson, associate director of the Kentucky Research Consortium for Energy and Environment at the UK Center for Applied Energy Research. His group has done extensive work to support expeditious, cost-efficient, technically effective cleanup of the Paducah site in west McCracken County.
February 19, 2013 14:02 by Alice
John Luan, a Dunbar High School student, who is interning with the Electrochemical and Power Systems UK CAER Research group, recently won at a local science fair in the Energy and Transportation category. He will advance to the next level of competition. John's project included part of his expertise earned while working in the Electochemistry research group.
February 19, 2013 13:56 by Alice
A group of about dozen college students interested in algae and biofuels research toured the UK CAER Lab 2 Renewables Building and the CAER Greenhouse that houses the center's CO2 algae project. The students, from Lindsy Wilson College, interacted with energy researchers as well as touring the University's newest renewables research laboratory that features state-of-the-art energy saving techniques and processes.