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 Hosts Italian PhD Student

clock December 15, 2014 11:32 by author Alice

As part of a collaboration with Prof. Carlo Visconti and Prof. Luca Lietti from the University of Milan, Italy, UK-CAER’s CFC group, led by Dr. Burtron H. Davis, had the opportunity to host Ms. Michela Martinelli, a PhD graduate student, for several months.  During that time, Ms. Martinelli worked with UK-CAER research staff to investigate methods to improve low temperature water-gas shift catalysts for fuel cell applications.  She worked very hard, and one manuscript has already been accepted for publication in an excellent journal, while a second completed manuscript has been submitted as a book chapter.

During her stay at UK-CAER, Ms. Martinelli collaborated not only with our staff, but also with researchers at both Brookhaven National Laboratory, where she had the opportunity to visit and conduct experiments, and Argonne National Laboratory.  We are happy to report that Dr. Michela Martinelli successfully defended her PhD thesis in December of 2014.



UK CAER Presents Workshop at 10th Annual GEMS Event

clock December 4, 2014 10:31 by author Alice

UK CAER Staff were workshop presenters at the 10th anniversary of the Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science (GEMS) event at the University of Kentucky, an event organized by the Girl Scouts of America. This event, their biggest to date with over 340 scouts in attendance, offers a number of hands-on and instructional workshops in the STEM fields.

Since 2005, the Girl Scouts Kentucky Wilderness Road Council and the UK College of Engineering has hosted the event, a series of workshops designed to teach girls about careers in science, the scientific method, how science is used in daily life, and how much math and science are connected.

Courtney Fisk, Stephanie Kesner, Sarah Peak, and Anne Oberlink ran a workshop on power generation. Students were shown how power is generated, and the basics of turbine power generation, and given the chance to use simple turbines and hand crank generators to light LEDs and power fans respectively. They were shown how electricity is measured, using a multimeter. Also, the basics of electricity transport were shown using simple circutis, batteries, buzzers, and fans.



UK CAER and KGS hold first EUOGS Conference

clock December 4, 2014 09:45 by author Alice

The Kentucky Geological Survey and Center for Applied Energy Research at the University of Kentucky teamed up to co-sponsor the first Eastern Unconventional Oil & Gas Symposium,  held at the Hilton in downtown Lexington, November 5-7.

Unconventional energy resource production refers to the use of non-traditional methods of oil and gas extraction or production from rocks not previously thought to have hydrocarbon potential. These include shales and low permeability sandstone. The boom in unconventional production has been driven in recent years by new technologies that can enhance oil and gas production from previously unrecoverable resources.

The conference was targeted for, but not limited to oil and gas producing areas in the Appalachian and Michigan basins, and addressed a number of upstream and downstream issues related to energy production, including:

  • Upstream Side: horizontal drilling, fracture stimulation, regulations, water issues, pipelines, induced seismicity, geology, and related topics.
  • Downstream Side: impacted by issues with regulated utilities, natural gas vehicles, sustainability, environmental impacts, and other focus areas.

There were well over 100 attendees from a half-dozen countries there to hear over 30 presentations on regulations, water treatment, geologic formations, and a variety of of new technologies and techniques. Keynote speakers included:

  • Dr. Len Peters, Secretary of the KY Energy Cabinet on Kentucky’s energy plan in a changing energy environment,
  • Duane Schrader of Louisville Gas and Electric, on Natural Gas generation from utilities’ persepctive,
  • Joe Morris, VP of Geology at EQT, on regional development,
  • Rich Haut of HARC, on gas flaring,
  • Mark Jergens of Midwest Energy Logistics, on gas and liquid markets.

Overall, the symposium was well-received, and interest in continuing the conference was high.



Distinguished “West Virginian Award” presented to Dr. Burtron H. Davis

clock November 17, 2014 15:05 by author Alice

Following Governor Tomblin’s 2014 Energy Summit, which took place at the Stonewall Resort on October 23-24, West Virginia’s Governor Earl Ray Tomblin presented Dr. Burtron H. Davis with the “Distinguished West Virginian Award.” The Governor applauded Dr. Davis while declaring that the award represents the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a person from West Virginia for outstanding achievement and meritorious service. Senator Joe Manchin was also present during the celebration as well as Jeff Herholdt, Director of the West Virginia Division of Energy.

Depicted from left to right:  

Governor Tomblin, Dr. Burt Davis, Senator Joe Manchin and Director Jeff Herholdt. 



Shifting Lines: Kentucky's Changing Energy Landscape

clock November 17, 2014 15:01 by author Alice

Please check out “Shifting Lines: Kentucky’s Changing Energy Landscape,” our new mini-documentary that explores the changes in our state's energy production and the implications of those changes on Kentucky’s economy. Stay tuned for a feature-length version coming in early 2015.​​​​




CAER Receives $3 million for Carbon Capture Research

clock October 1, 2013 10:31 by author Marybeth McAlister

CAER is working to advance technology to capture carbon dioxide from new and existing coal-burning power plants, funded by a major grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory, part of the DOE Office of Fossil Energy, has selected the UK Center for Applied Energy Research for the three-year, $3 million project.

The announcement comes on the heels of regulations proposed Sept. 20 by the Environmental Protection Agency to sharply reduce carbon emissions from new power plants. This development presents serious challenges to the coal industry, which currently lacks cost-effective technology that would enable it to comply with the proposed lower limits.

"Technologies for carbon capture, utilization and storage will be crucial in sustaining coal as a viable fuel under increasing carbon constraints," said CAER Director Rodney Andrews. "The technology is feasible, but it is not yet ready for full-scale implementation. That's why this project is so important." 

The CAER project will advance the DOE's goal of having technology available by 2020 that can achieve a 90-percent carbon dioxide capture rate, at a cost of $40 per metric ton of carbon dioxide captured.

A major cost associated with commercial carbon dioxide capture is the size of the "scrubber" needed to handle the volume of flue gas produced by a power plant. CAER has developed a catalyst to speed up the absorption rate of the solvent used, so the scrubber can be much smaller. Overall, the CAER technology could reduce the cost of carbon dioxide capture by 56 percent, compared to the current DOE reference case.

Research and development by CAER will enable efficient, cost-effective implementation of carbon capture throughout the power generation sector and ensure that the United States and other nations will continue to have access to safe, reliable, and affordable energy from fossil fuels, Andrews said.

"These essential factors of production, in turn, have and will continue to drive industrial growth, raising personal incomes, higher standards of living, and an improved quality of life," he said.

DOE's investment is $2,966,957, in addition to cost share of $242,615 from UK and $499,675 from the Carbon Management Research Group, an industry-based research consortium with membership consisting of AEP, Duke, EPRI, LGE-KU and the state’s Department of Energy Development and Independence. Kunlei Liu, CAER associate director for research, will serve as the university’s principal investigator.

UK President Eli Capilouto commended researchers at CAER for tackling head-on the "questions of efficiency, sustainability and utilization," raised by the global energy debate.

“Our researchers, in partnership with the Department of Energy and the Carbon Management Research Group, are reaching new discoveries that can transform the Kentucky and national energy economy,” he said.



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.

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