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.



UKNow Covers EEC/UKVis Documentary "Shifting Lines"

clock December 5, 2014 11:04 by author Alice

"Shifting Lines: Kentucky's Changing Energy Landscape" is a mini documentary produced by the University of Kentucky Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments with the assistance of the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

The film examines how Kentucky's electricity prices and abundant water supplies have attracted a wealth of manufacturing, and how recent trends in power generation and cost will affect this, as well as overall energy policy, moving forward.

See the full UKNow article here.



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.



Tour of UK CAER Algae Greenhouse by University of Pikeville Individuals

clock November 18, 2014 21:09 by author Alice
A tour was given by Jack Groppo of the UK CAER Algae Greenhouse and Renewable Building Lab 2 biofuels lab to several very interested individuals from the University of Pikeville and Asbury University. They were part of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences annual meeting and took some time to tour the CAER facilities to learn more about algae/biofuels research and utilization.


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.​​​​




Tekcrete Fast Demonstration

clock November 13, 2014 10:27 by author Alice

Tekcrete applied to two portland cement beams and one water pipe.On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research, along with their commercialization partner Orica USA, headed down to College Station, Texas to demonstrate the commercial product, Tekcrete Fast, and its delivery system. This research was supported by funding provided by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, Science & Technology Directorate, through a technology development and deployment program managed by The National Institute for Hometown Security. 

Tekcrete Fast is a rapidly setting, high strength gunite mix that can be used by rescue personnel to help protect them as they work at a disaster site. It also affords protection to victims trapped in damaged buildings, guarding them against potential collapse and additional harm.

The system is composed of a delivery vehicle capable of concreting or grouting prepackaged fiber reinforced cements, mortars and micro- aggregated concretes that are strong and rapidly setting. A range of compositions of cements have been tested that demonstrate high compressive and bonding strengths after only five hours of curing and structural strength in as little as 15 minutes.    

The demonstration consisted of three damaged Portland concrete beams set in the ground in a vertical manner, to replicate damaged structural beams, as well as a damaged water pipe. Tekcrete Fast was sprayed to repair those damaged items, and then tested three hours later. The beams were placed in a compressive strength machine, and compressed until a failure point was reached. It was concluded that the Portland concrete beams broke outside of the damaged areas where the Tekcrete Fast was sprayed, meaning the Tekcrete Fast was stronger than the actual Portland concrete beams themselves.

The UK CAER Environmental and Coal Technologies research group scientists involved in the demo were Tom Robl, Anne Oberlink, and Bob Jewell.



Algae Industry Magazine Picks up Story about UK CAER Algae Project

clock November 13, 2014 10:17 by author Alice
The Algae Industry Magazine.com website added a story about the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research's algae project at the Duke power plant. The video put together by the local news station was picked up by the magazine.

About half of the electricity produced in the United States comes from coal fire power plants like the Duke Energy East Bend Station in Boone County, Kentucky. Unlike almost all of the others, this plant is trapping its exhaust gas and using it to grow algae. The University of Kentucky and Duke have partnered on this project, which is currently at pilot level. “We’ve made jet fuel, and we’ve made renewable diesel fuel,” said Biofuels Research Engineer Michael Wilson, with the University of Kentucky.



New Positions Available from UK CAER PowerGen Research Group

clock November 12, 2014 19:06 by author Alice
Two new positions have been posted from the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research's Power Generation Research group. A CO2 Capture Chemical Engineer is being sought as well as a Post Doc in Chemical Looping Combustion and Gasification.

For more information, check the PowerGen web section under the JOBS tab: http://www.caer.uky.edu/powergen/home.shtml.


PostDoc Researcher CO2 Capture Solvent Position is Open at UK CAER

clock October 24, 2014 15:40 by author Alice
The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (@UKCAER) is looking for an individual to fill a position/job for CO2 capture solvent and degradation and analysis. The successful candidate will develop test methods to identify and quantify solvent degradation products including nitrosamines as related CO2 capture processes. Other responsibilities will include developing gas phase sampling and analytical methodologies.

The position requires a Ph.D. in chemistry, chemical engineering or environmental science from an accredited college or university. Other degrees will be considered assuming relevant experience. Prior experience in solvent degradation, gas phase sampling and analytical method development using a variety of instrumentation is highly desirable.

More Information


November 2014 Eastern Unconventional Oil & Gas Symposium in Lexington, Kentucky

clock October 16, 2014 10:36 by author Alice
The University of Kentucky's Center for Applied Energy Research and the UK Kentucky Geological Survey are collaborating for an inaugural symposium focusing on unconventional oil and gas in the Eastern US.

The Eastern Unconventional Oil and Gas Symposium ("EUOGS," http://www.euogs.org/) is being held in Lexington, Kentucky, November 5-7, 2014. The symposium seeks to address a broad range of upstream and downstream issues related to energy production from emerging resources in the northeast United States.

To register for the EUOGS event. http://www.euogs.org/register.html

The agenda/schedule can be found on the website: http://www.euogs.org/agenda.html



Renewable Energy -- Opportunities and Limitations - PEIK Seminar

clock October 16, 2014 10:35 by author Alice
PEIK Seminar: October 17, 2:00pm, Worsham theater: "Renewable Energy -- Opportunities and Limitations"

The Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky (PEIK) in conjunction with the IEEE Power and Energy Society Lexington Chapter, is holding a seminar: Friday, October 17 at 2:00 pm (Please note different location)

Seminar Title: “Renewable Energy - Opportunities and Limitations”
Speaker: Dr. David Link, Manager of R&D, LG&E/KU
Date: Friday, October 17, 2014, 2pm, Worsham Theater, Student Center Addition, University of Kentucky

Please join us for the seminar. All faculty, students, staff, and visitors are welcome at the seminar.

More information on PEIK seminars can be found at http://www.engr.uky.edu/power/seminars/ .

(Professional Engineers and others who want Professional Development Hours can receive 1 PDH for the PEIK seminar. Participants wanting to receive PDH certificates should sign in at the seminar, and certificates will be emailed to them.)


Are high energy costs and unreliable power affecting your bottom line?

clock October 16, 2014 10:26 by author Alice
Sign up today for one of two Kentucky CHP Workshops in November to learn how a Combined Heat and Power system could help your business lower costs, improve power reliability and enhance environmental performance.

The CHP Workshops will provide:
  • An overview of CHP technologies
  • Types of systems available
  • Fuel options
  • Utility rates and regulations
  • Financing options and incentives
  • Policies and permit requirements
PLUS, you can get the facts about CHP in a Q&A session with end users and learn how to request a No Cost CHP assessment of your facility.

CHP End-Users Workshops
November 6, 2014 – Bowling Green, KY
Western Kentucky University
Knicely Conference Center, Room 112
2355 Nashville Road
Bowling Green, KY 42104
9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CST
Registration deadline is November 3 for the Bowling Green workshop.

November 13, 2014 – Richmond, KY
Eastern Kentucky University
Quad A, Perkins Building
521 Lancaster Avenue
Richmond, KY 40475-3102
9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST
Registration deadline is November 6 for the Richmond workshop.

Register Today!

The cost to attend is $30 which includes continental breakfast, lunch and all workshop materials. Pre-registration is required. No walk-in registrations can be accepted.

The Kentucky CHP Workshops are sponsored by the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers – KAM; the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet – EEC; the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center – KPPC; the U.S. Department of Energy – State Energy Program and the DOE Southeast CHP Technical Assistance Partnership.


Rodney Andrews, UK CAER Director, Speaks at 2014 Governor's Conference

clock October 16, 2014 10:14 by author Alice
Dr. Rodney Andrews was a panel speaker for the EPA's Greenhouse Gas Proposed Regulations session at the 38th Governor's Conference of Energy and the Environment - The Changing Landscapes in Kentucky - in Lexington, Kentucky - October 8, 2014.

Dr. Andrews is the Director of the University of Kentucky's Center for Applied Energy Research. He told the audience that carbon emissions are a global issue and other countries are increasing their fossil fuel use even as the U.S. is considering policies to cut back on the use of fossil fuels in the U.S. The EPA GHG proposed regulations will have a huge impact on low income families across the country and in Eastern Kentucky. And, the EPA's proposed Greenhouse Regulations is a case of policy getting ahead of technology.



Governor Conference Attendees Tour UK CAER

clock October 16, 2014 09:55 by author Alice
The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research recently offered a tour to attendees from the 2014 Governor's Conference on Energy and the Environment. CAER investigates energy technologies to improve the environment. Researchers contribute to technically sound policies related to fossil and renewable energy.

Tour participants learned about coal beneficiation, utilization and conversion process technologies; fuel use; coal combustion by-products; engineered fuels; derivation of high added-value materials and chemicals; and renewable energy such as biofuels and bioenergy, electrochemistry, solar energy and environmental remediation.



Bob Jewell, UK CAER CCP Researcher, is Chosen for Newly-Formed NAMAB

clock October 2, 2014 18:52 by author Alice
Robert Jewell, research scientist for environmental and coal technologies at the Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER), University of Kentucky has been chosen to serve on the National Ash Management Advisory Board. The NAMAB is a newly formed advisory panel of independent experts that will provide valuable input from an outside perspective on Duke Energy's strategy around permanent coal ash storage solutions and other challenges related to the management of coal combustion products.

Bob has more than 10 years of working with ash ponds, ash sampling and ash beneficiation, and is an expert in the geology and geochemistry of ash having also taught sessions at various CAER-sponsored ash workshops.



The panel includes some of the nation's most respected experts in engineering, waste management, environmental science and risk analysis. They will provide independent and objective analysis of the issues Duke Energy and the industry face when identifying safe, environmentally sound and permanent storage solutions for coal ash. NAMAB is managed by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), and led by Dr. John Daniels, P.E., professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the university.


CAER's Tonya Morgan Interviewed for UKNOW Story About Migrane Relief Found at UK Headache Clinic

clock October 2, 2014 18:29 by author Alice
Tony Morgan, UK CAER Chemist with the Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis research group, is interviewed for a story that discusses the challenges of having constant, debilitating and chronic migraines that were so severe that she was placed on 30+ different types of medicines. Tonya was not able to find relief from the meds nor from her 11 one-week stays at the Cleveland Clinic.

Thankfully, Tonya received a helpful solution when she ended up seeing Dr. Siddarth Kapoor, director of the Headache Clinic at the Kentucky Neuroscience Institute at UK HealthCare.

The video shows Tonya, now headache-free, working in the BEC labs and being very pleased to have resumed a normal life with a greater appreciation for good health.



View the entire video and story at the UKNOW website.


UK CAER Staffers Learn How to More Efficiently Use Swagelok

clock October 2, 2014 18:21 by author Alice

Swagelok Indiana representative Mike Sallee gave a hands-on seminar for the UK Center for Applied Energy Research's Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis (BEC) research group on Thursday September 25th . The presentation was entitled “Swagelok Tube Fitting Installation and Safety” and was the second annual event hosted by the BEC group. These events are as valuable to expert Swagelok users as researchers working with Swagelok for the very first time. The goal is that we use their products correctly to optimize safety as well as economics.


DEDI Creates Map of Kentucky Energy Bills as Percentage of Household Income

clock September 10, 2014 15:25 by author Alice
The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet's Department for Energy Development and Independence has created a cool and interesting map detailing Kentucky residents' energy bills and what percentage of that is used for their household income. Take a look at DEDI's YouTube Video page to see all the details.