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, Hazard Partnership Seeks to Improve Rural Power Generation

clock January 10, 2018 09:32 by author Thomas

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER) received a $1.6 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant to develop an innovative partnership in Hazard, Kentucky that could serve as a model for future energy projects in rural Eastern Kentucky communities.

DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) funded the project, which is titled Gasification Combined Heat and Power from Coal Fines. Funding for twenty percent of the project cost is provided by the University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Arq Coal Technologies LLC, and Beijing Baota Sanju Energy Science and Technology Co, Ltd. The grant will allow UK CAER and its community partners to complete a front end engineering design (FEED) study for a 5-megawatt electric equivalent polygenerating unit utilizing waste coal fines and biomass as feedstocks.

 “This project could be a first step to a mid-west regional partnership for research, development and deployment of energy-related innovation,” said Kunlei Liu, the project’s principal investigator and Associate Director at UK CAER. “This type of project, involving many partners across Kentucky and beyond, shows great promise for testing and demonstrating new energy technology.”

UK CAER will be recycling two eastern Kentucky products – sawdust and coal fines – to help create localized power generation in Perry County.

“I’ve always believed that localized and regional power generation would work well in many Kentucky communities – particularly throughout rural Kentucky,” said Jack Groppo, a principal research engineer at UK CAER and faculty member in UK Mining Engineering, who is working on this project. “We have a tremendous amount of coal fines left over throughout Kentucky coal fields as well as a strong, vibrant lumber industry that has industrial waste as well. This project will allow us to combine those two products to create fuel that will help power rural Kentucky communities for years to come.”

As part of the project, UK CAER will partner with several businesses based in Hazard, including Gay Brothers Lumber, Blackhawk Mining, and the Hazard-Perry County Economic Development Alliance.



UK CAER will use biomass (sawdust) from Gay Brothers Lumber and will utilize waste coal fines from Blackhawk Mining. The model location will be located at the Coal Fields Regional Industrial Park in Hazard.

The Center will also collaborate with Beijing Baota Sanju Energy Science and Technology Co, Ltd. in China to conduct a preliminary design on the 5-megawatt gasifier, as the project seeks to find out how best to optimize how much heat and power can be generated. The grant will fund a cultural impact study in the region to help determine the community and financial benefits of local, gasified power generation.

Smith Management Group of Lexington will contribute to the FEED study, along with Trimeric Corporation from Texas.




UK CAER Student Researcher Places Third in UK Poster Contest

clock August 11, 2017 14:14 by author Thomas

Braxton McFarland, a student researcher in UK CAER’s Power Generation Group, placed third in the UK Department of Chemistry’s annual poster completion. McFarland, a native of Lexington, Kentucky, graduated with a degree in chemistry from UK in spring 2017.

 

 

The title of the poster was “Electroless Copper Plating Method for 3D Printed Circuit Boards.” 





UK CAER Student Employee One of UK's Best

clock June 13, 2017 15:52 by author Thomas

Ryan Hines, a student in UK CAER's Power Generation Group, was named one of the University of Kentucky’s top 10 student employees for 2016-17. Ryan operated the large bench CO2 capture unit for the Center. Ryan is a native of Liberty, Kentucky and is a chemical engineering major at UK.



Ryan played a critical role in conducting a performance test on UK CAER’s carbon capture bench demonstration unit, according to his colleagues.

"We conducted a performance test on our CAER-B3 solvent using our new hybrid process in large bench unit for 500 hours," said Brad Irvin, a Research Scientist Associate at UK CAER. "The hybrid process combined a traditional CO2 capture process with a CO2 pre-concentrating membrane, a new solvent blend (CAER-B3), and solid additives. This test took months to complete and we faced many difficult challenges such as maintenance and repair of the system and keeping our data quality top notch, while also meeting the DOE timelines. Ryan was instrumental in the successful completion of this experiment. His willingness to take ownership and go the extra mile kept the experiment on track and producing meaningful data."