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.

Science Fair Results - CAER High School Intern Places First in Regional Science Fair

clock March 10, 2013 18:50 by author 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.



Vence Easterling Receives Ph.D.

clock March 1, 2013 18:03 by author Marybeth McAlister

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.

 

 



BAE Mid-West Regional Rally Tours UK CAER

clock March 1, 2013 16:11 by author 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.



UK CAER Collaborative Scientist Supports Graduate Student via NSF EPSCoR Grant

clock February 19, 2013 14:11 by author 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.


UKNOW Article Regarding UK and DOE Paducah Groundwater Models at WKCTC

clock February 19, 2013 14:06 by author 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.

More...



Dunbar School UK CAER Intern Wins Local Science Fair

clock February 19, 2013 14:02 by author 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. 



Lindsey Wilson College Students Interested in Biofuels Research

clock February 19, 2013 13:56 by author 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.

 



Successful Carbon CO2 Capture Workshop Hosted by UK CAER

clock February 8, 2013 09:39 by author Alice

The workshop offered informative technical presentations that provided an overview of carbon capture technologies and recent research progress allowing attendees to become more informed in carbon management issues and recent technical advances.  The speakers included:

  • Abhoyjit Bhown from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
  • Gary Rochelle from University of Texas
  • Stan Lam from Koch Modular Process Systems
  • Jim Neathery from UK CAER
  • Kunlei Liu from UK CAER
  • Joe Remias from UK CAER



UK College of Design Studio Visit to Center for Applied Energy Research

clock February 7, 2013 17:37 by author Alice

Members from the University of Kentucky College of Design Studio toured the UK Center for Applied Energy Research facilities (February 2, 2013).  The group toured CAER Lab #2 Renewable Building as well as visiting the Algae Greenhouse and Minerals Processing Laboratory.  CAER researchers spoke to the group at each stop, giving them a brief overview and primer of the energy research that is currently being done in that specific location. 



UK CAER Scientists Present at First-Ever SEC Symposium

clock February 4, 2013 15:30 by author Alice

Three University of Kentucky faculty members will present at the first-ever Southeastern Conference Symposium which will be held in Atlanta February 10-14, 2013.

John Anthony, UK's Gill Professor of Chemistry will present at a session about advanced materials for energy applications Dr. Anthony's laboratories are housed at the UK Center for Applied Energy Research Lab #2 Renewable Energy building.

Mark Crocker, associate director of UK CAER's Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis research group and Dr. Burt Davis, associate director of UK CAER's Clean Fuels and Chemicals research group will also present at the SEC Conference.Dr. Crocker will speak in a session about technologies for producing biopower, biofuels and biomaterials. Dr. Davis will present in an energy advances in transportation sector session.

More information can be found in UK's UK NOW news article.



UK CAER and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Fueling Capabilities

clock February 1, 2013 15:52 by author Alice

The city of Somerset has recently installed Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling capabilities. Currently CNG prices range from $1.50 to $2.00 gasoline gallon equivalent. This will result in considerable cost savings for the city. The facility is located at the city’s refueling station on Chapel Dairy Road. The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research's Eastern Kentucky regional representative, Greg Copley, was on hand to observe a CNG powered Freightliner dump truck being refueled.

The dedicated fuel truck was in route from South Carolina to a truck show in Peoria, Illinois when the driver determined he needed to fuel up before making it to Louisville. He contacted the Somerset facility manager who agreed to sell enough CNG for the truck to get to Louisville.

One noticeable attribute of this type of vehicle is the lack of noise from the engine as it started and drove down the road. According to the driver, the truck has an automatic transmission and the truck seemed to handle hills well. Since this was the driver’s first experience driving this vehicle, its performance is still unknown at this point. There are four CNG tanks that can be operated separately or together to run the vehicle.



Montessori Middle School of Kentucky Tours UK CAER Greenhouse Lab

clock January 17, 2013 16:39 by author Alice
Several students from the Montessori Middle School of Kentucky toured the UK CAER Greenhouse Laboratory. This Montessori School is currently studying energy conservation and biofuels, specifically in the area of CO2 mitigation and control. The UK CAER greenhouse lab houses research concerning the utilization of waste CO2 and heat from a coal-fired power plant to cultivate algae, which could then be processed into fuel and other products. One of the major focuses of this research is to determine the most economically-favorable strategy regarding the production of biofuels or bioproducts from algae. Additionally lowering CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants is also a top priority.

 



Engineers Professional Society Tours CAER Renewables Lab

clock January 11, 2013 17:40 by author Alice

 

The Bluegrass Chapter of the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers (KSPE) toured the UK CAER Renewables Laboratory.  The group tours recently completed engineering projects and were very interested in this Murphy + Graves Architects project.  

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research recently completed construction on a new 43,000 square foot high-performance laboratory building that will allow expansion of the center's renewable and energy storage research. This research is devoted to Kentucky's growing renewable energy industries, including biomass and biofuels, electrochemical power sources (like capacitors and batteries), and distributed solar energy technologies.

The laboratory building design target was a 50 percent reduction in energy usage compared to similar facilities.



CAER to Help Advance UK HBEER Project

clock January 3, 2013 14:03 by author Alice

Recently the University of Kentucky received additional funding to help advance research in the Houseboat to Energy Efficient Residences (HBEER) project, which provides low-cost, energy efficient housing options to Kentuckians. The UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) will be developing public education framework about the HBEER project and disseminate findings throughout the state to bolster interest in energy efficient modular structures.

HBEER is a partnership between the UK College of Design, CAER, KHIC and the Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC). The multi-year project was initiated in the fall of 2009 and directly responds to the impact the current economic downturn has had on the houseboat manufacturing industry in the Commonwealth. As part of the partnership, more than 50 students and faculty at the UK School of Architecture were responsible for researching and developing initial models of energy-efficient, affordable housing that could be produced by the region's houseboat manufacturers.

The next phases of the HBEER project includes a prototype for multifamily housing, as well as classroom space for schools as an energy efficient and more durable alternative to portable classrooms.

Read more of the story at UKNOW.


New Electrochemistry Position Open in Power Generation Research Group

clock January 2, 2013 16:12 by author Alice

University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research seeks a Postdoctoral Scholar that will design, fabricate, and evaluate electrochemical cells at elevated temperatures. Specific focus will be placed on the development of molten salt electrolysis cells for thermal energy generation.

 

January 2013 - Electrochemistry PostDoc Position Available



Energeia Newsletter Volume 23-4 now published (2012)

clock December 4, 2012 13:33 by author Alice

 

Energeia Newsletter Volume 20-4 now published

New <a href="http://www.caer.uky.edu/energeia/PDF/vol23_4.pdf">2012 Energeia Newsletter</a> now published, including:

  • Why China's energy scence is the new silk road;
  • What werewolves have to do with energy; and
  • Meeting announcements and much more.

 



UK Visualized Future for Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant

clock November 26, 2012 15:51 by author Marybeth McAlister

 

For the last 60 years, Paducah, Kentucky, has been the point of origin for enriched uranium bound for U.S. energy and defense. The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, and the surrounding 3,000 acres, is one of the most contaminated top-secret sites in the United States. Since 2003, the Kentucky Research Consortium for Energy and the Environment has gathered scientific data, investigated remediation techniques, and talked to Paducah residents about the future of the site. What was missing was a way to communicate the science of what was happening underground to spark conversation about the potential of the site. That’s where design came in. University of Kentucky College of Design students were enlisted to visualize the 5 miles of toxic pollutants underground, as well as research future uses for the site. The one with the greatest potential was the idea that the problem, the contamination, was the solution. Technology developed in Paducah could be exported to other contaminated sites around the globe.

UK College of Design students have created a vision of what the future could hold for this plant. Go to: http://www.research.uky.edu/reveal/paducah.shtml

More information on the KRCEE program can be found at: http://www.caer.uky.edu/environment/home.shtml

 




New Prospectus Explains CAER's Utility Consortium

clock November 24, 2012 13:35 by author Marybeth McAlister

 

Teaming with Kentucky's major power companies, the University of Kentucky's Center for Applied Energy Research has formed a consortium (CMRG). The group is carrying out a $24M ten-year program of research to development and demonstrate cost-effective and practical technologies for reducing and managing CO2 in existing coal-fired electric power plants. The intention is to position electric utilities to respond to a carbon-constrained economy prior to the imposition of environmental rules. Its purpose is to maintain and strengthen coal's competitive advantage as a least-cost fuel for electricity production, while improving environmental quality.

A new prospectus on this program can be found at: http://www.caer.uky.edu/powergen/cmrg/home.shtml




CAER Advisory Board Meets Young Researchers

clock November 15, 2012 09:46 by author Marybeth McAlister

The Annual CAER Advisory Board meeting was a little different this year. Some of our younger researchers attended the board meeting and dinner, getting to meet and learn from the members of the board. Following the second day's program, several board members toured the CAER's new renewable fuels and energy storage research building.



CAER Takes Energy Research to Western Kentucky High Schools

clock November 5, 2012 09:54 by author Marybeth McAlister

Electricity isn’t magic — it's science. And on Thursday, Nov. 1, high school students from Union and Henderson County, along with students from the Earle C. Clements Job Corps Academy, learned just what allows them to use their iPhones, hair dryers, and other much-beloved electrical appliances. This interactive energy seminar featured researchers from the CAER and was part of the fourth annual Energy Week, sponsored by Plugged In-The Northwest Kentucky Energy Initiative.

Sarah Mardon, Western Kentucky energy coordinator for CAER, helped organize the event.

"We are excited to host the seminar for high school students for the second year in a row," she said. "It is important to further develop the students' understanding of how coal, a resource familiar to students from these counties, and its by-products, are used by utilities and industries. We also want to share the research we are performing at UK."

CAER researchers Jack Groppo and Robby Pace showed approximately 150 students the important role that minerals, such as coal, play in their lives.  They demonstrated how coal is used to make electricity and how technology is used to capture and recycle the ash that results from burning coal. 

They also discussed how algae are being developed to capture carbon dioxide from power plants, and how algae biomass can be used in several ways.

Afterward, the students viewed and learned about solar panels and wind turbines installed on the Job Corps site.

"We are very excited to host this educational event for local high school students and our Job Corps students," said Job Corps Business and Community Liaison Nyra Syers-Ford. "The Job Corps Academy solar panels and wind turbine, which power our material handling warehouse, are a highlight for students interested in alternative energy. This is our second year and we hope to continue and grow this great event."

Plugged In-The Northwest Kentucky Energy Initiative's goal is to support the region's energy producers, help develop work force training opportunities and educate students about energy-related fields. It also promotes northwest Kentucky as a potential leader in energy technology and innovation.

"With numerous students from across the region showing interest in energy related topics we look forward to another successful Energy Week in Northwest Kentucky," added Kevin Sheilley, president and CEO of Northwest Kentucky Forward.

The CAER maintains energy coordinators in western and eastern Kentucky. The purpose is to assist local governments and industry in the development of energy projects by introducing them to the capabilities of the center as well as the university as a whole.