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.

CAER hosts Wichita State University Professor's talk on Spectrometry

clock August 16, 2017 15:59 by author Thomas

On Wednesday, August 16, UK CAER invited Professor Hussein H. Hamdeh, from the Wichita State University Department of Physics to present "Materials characterization by Mössbauer Spectrometry".


 

 


Mossbauer Spectrometry is often used to characterize the structural, electrical and magnetic properties of materials.  This technique is particularly effective in the study of non-equilibrium disordered and nanoscale structures where it provides information unobtainable by diffraction and other techniques.  The presentation covered the fundamentals of the Mossbauer Effect, the spectrometer, the measured hyperfine parameters and few applications in applied physics/materials and chemistry.



UK CAER’s Biofuels Group Receives $2M to Support Novel Emissions Research

clock August 15, 2017 08:53 by author Thomas

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research’s (CAER) Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group has received a $2 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant to develop new emissions technology for low-temperature gasoline.



The project is entitled “Research and Development of Novel Adsorber Technology to Address Hydrocarbon and Nitrogen Oxide Emissions for Low Temperature Gasoline Applications.” As part of the grant, UK CAER will be partnering with the University of California, Berkeley, Purdue University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Ford Motor Company.

This research project seeks to solve a problem with vehicle emissions. As internal combustion engines become more efficient, their exhaust gas becomes cooler. However, catalytic converters need to be warm to start efficiently removing pollutants (specifically nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons).

With national emission standards for vehicles becoming more stringent, it is increasingly important to remove these pollutants from exhaust gas when a vehicle is first started, in other words, when the exhaust gas is still cold.  

“To accomplish this goal, we are conducting research on a class of materials (zeolites) that can effectively trap pollutants until the vehicle’s catalytic converter is warm enough to convert them to harmless products,” said Mark Crocker, Associate Director of UK CAER’s Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group and Professor of Chemistry. “If successful, this technology will play a critical role in creating cleaner and more efficient vehicles.”

The grant was funded by DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office, and reasserts DOE’s commitment to advanced, energy efficient transportation technologies. Work of this type will improve our nation’s energy security, help consumers and businesses save money on transportation energy costs, and strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness. All told, DOE invested $19.4 million in 22 new cost-shared projects across the nation.



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 and MIT Researchers Study Large-scale Energy Storage Battery

clock July 21, 2017 11:03 by author Thomas

A team of scientists at the University of Kentucky and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been awarded a $200,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop a prototype of a battery utilizing chemical components prepared at UK.

UK chemistry professors Susan Odom and John Anthony -- who both have appointments at the Center for Applied Energy Research -- synthesized new organic compounds as donors and acceptors for a type of battery called a redox flow battery (RFB), currently of great interest for large-scale energy storage. In collaboration with James Landon (UK CAER) and Fikile Brushett (MIT), the team will investigate the operation of the new materials in a prototype.

 

This PFI: AIR-TT (Partnerships for Innovation: Accelerating Innovation Research-Technology Translation) project focuses on incorporating high concentration organic electrolytes for redox flow batteries (RFBs) into functional, high-voltage, stationary batteries. RFB have advantages for electrical grid-scale energy storage options, including peak leveling and frequency regulation, which would reduce overall energy consumption when linked with an electrical grid. RFBs are inherently well-suited for large applications such as these because they scale more cost effectively (power and energy capacities are decoupled) than most battery technologies.

This project investigates nonaqueous RFBs containing organic electro-active species. This proposed type of RFB has the following unique features relative to other RFB designs: higher operating voltages, noncorrosive electrolytes, smaller size, and use of scalable organic active materials (more environmentally friendly and potentially lower cost). The potential customer benefit would stem from more affordable options for stationary energy storage, enabling a greater reliance on renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, and improving energy efficiency of the electric grid, which together can reduce the anthropogenic generation of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion.

Under this project, a prototype full-cell RFB with high concentrations of promising organic electro-active materials will be built and tested. To date, the lack of a demonstration of a high-concentration full cell has prevented an analysis of the performance and identification of the potential advantages and limitations of electro-active organic compounds. Moreover, performance-limiting factors associated with cell design or component failure are difficult to distinguish for active material decay. Full cell testing, at near practical conditions, is required to complete a thorough performance assessment.

The project engages United Technologies Research Center to provide additional testing assessments and to guide commercialization aspects in this technology translation effort from research discovery toward commercial reality.

For more information, visit www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1701085&HistoricalAwards.



UK Undergraduate Research Program Opens Door to International Opportunity

clock July 12, 2017 08:15 by author Thomas

Sarah Hodges had never stepped foot into a research laboratory until she began her educational career at the University of Kentucky. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Hodges enrolled at UK in the fall of 2015 to pursue a degree in chemical engineering.

 

Once at UK, Hodges took part in the Broadening Participation in Engineering (BPE) program, a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program led by Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez from the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER).

Hodges became interested in some of the research taking place in UK CAER's Materials Technologies Group and was paired with mentor Tristana Duvallet. She embarked on a research project with that group during the summer of 2016, and she received a competitive award for the project by UK's Office of Undergraduate Research.

That BPE program, Hodges said, changed her educational pathway, swinging open wide a world of opportunity that has led her to France this summer to pursue her burgeoning research career.

In 2016, Dr. Santillan-Jimenez encouraged Hodges to apply for the Kentucky-West Virginia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (KY-WV LSAMP) program. Participation in the KY-WV LSAMP program led her to being nominated for an international Research Experience for Undergraduates. This award will allow Hodges to study alongside Professors Gerard Mortha and Capucine Dupont at the University of Grenoble in France this summer to perform research on the thermal degradation of cellulose, which is of interest to applications related to the production of energy, fuels and chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass.

 

As part of the program, Hodges will also attend ELITECAT 2017, a summer school of catalysis held in Lyon, France, which is home to one of the most prestigious centers for catalysis studies in Europe and the world.

"The opportunities that have been made available to me through undergraduate research here at UK CAER have been life-changing," said Hodges. "Traveling to France and learning the French culture through research is something I could never have dreamed of. I thank everyone at UK and CAER who have helped me along the way."



UK Mining Engineering, CAER Receive DOE Funding for Rare Earth Element Research

clock June 27, 2017 15:13 by author Thomas

The University of Kentucky has received two of three U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grants for its promising work in the emerging field of rare earth element (REE) research.

DOE's Office of Fossil Energy recently announced that the three projects have been selected to receive approximately $3 million for research aimed at producing salable rare earth elements from domestic coal and coal by-products. UK's Department of Mining Engineering is a partner on one of those projects while UK's Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) is a partner on another project.

 

 

 

REEs are a series of 17 chemical elements found in the Earth's crust. Due to their unique chemical properties, REEs are essential components of technologies spanning a range of applications, including electronics, computer and communication systems, transportation, health care and national defense. The demand for REEs has grown significantly in recent years, stimulating an interest in economically feasible approaches for domestic REE recovery.

Rick Honaker, chair of UK's Department of Mining Engineering, will oversee a project which will involve conducting laboratory testing and preparing their technical design for a pilot plant to produce salable REEs. They will use by-products from an existing West Virginia coal preparation (coal washing) plant as their raw material for extracting REEs. Their phase 1 design includes recovery and sale of dry, fine, high-quality coal from this raw material as an additional source of revenue.

"Coal and coal by-products have the potential to be the source of a critical national need in the supply of rare earth elements including those that have been identified as strategically important by the U.S. Department of Defence. Researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) were the first to recognize this fact and, with strong congressional support led by Congressman Hal Rogers, have developed a research and development program to expedite the commercialization of this opportunity," Honaker said. "We are grateful that NETL has selected our team to be one of three to initiate the development of a small, commercial production facility to produce rare earth element concentrates from coal and coal products. If successful, rare earth production facilities in the coalfields could significantly reduce the reliance on imports where nearly 100 percent of the critical materials are obtained, while also positively impacting job creation and the financial stability of mining companies."

Jim Hower, a principal research scientist at UK CAER and a research professor in UK's Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, will oversee the second project, which will utilize by-products from an eastern Kentucky coal preparation plant as their source of REEs. Their phase 1 design will consider recovery and sale of coal from these preparation plant by-products as an additional source of revenue.

"Our rare earth element recovery research is a natural extension of the center's efforts in creating high-value products from coal and coal combustion by-products," Hower said. "We look forward to bringing this knowledge to bear, and the potential for creating new jobs and economic opportunities in Kentucky and across the United States. We are most grateful to DOE for this support, and thankful to Congressman Hal Rogers for his continued leadership in support of UK CAER's coal by-product utilization research and development."

These REE projects speak to the unique and long-standing collaboration between UK Mining Engineering and UK CAER. Jack Groppo, a principal research engineer at CAER and faculty member in UK Mining Engineering, will also provide expertise in physical separation processing and plant design on Honaker's project.

 

 

"The University of Kentucky is engaged in answering Kentucky questions that, often, have global implications," said UK President Eli Capilouto. "These grants underscore the leading role UK's Center for Applied Energy Research and Department of Mining Engineering play in our national energy dialogue. UK faculty and staff researchers are recognized pioneers, and their research and discovery plays an integral role in how we improve, utilize, and enhance the capacity of our energy economy. I want to thank Congressman Hal Rogers for his continued support of the University of Kentucky, and his belief in our people's capacity to address those questions most vexing to the state we serve, together."

"I applaud the University of Kentucky for the continued tireless efforts to secure the future of coal and coal by-products across the country," said Congressman Hal Rogers, who supported federal funding for DOE grant opportunities. "Rare earth elements are utilized in ways you may not know about, from computers, to telescopes, to aircraft engines, to specialized glass, and medical equipment. The ongoing innovative research and development at UK CAER and the Department of Mining Engineering will expand upon potential revenue options in the future, providing more opportunities for Kentucky's coal country."

More information about the projects can be found at:
https://energy.gov/articles/doe-announces-69-million-research-rare-earth-elements-coal-and-coal-byproducts

 



UK CAER Researchers Publish Coal Combustion Products Book

clock June 5, 2017 14:18 by author Thomas

 



Members of the UK Center for Applied Energy Research’s Materials Technologies group have published the definitive book on coal combustion byproducts. Entitled “Coal Combustion Products (CCPs): Characteristics, Utilization and Beneficiation,” the book was edited by UK CAER’s Tom Robl and Anne Oberlink as well as their colleague and collaborator, Rod Jones. The book was published by Woodhead Publishing.




KY EPSCoR to Host NSF Grants Conference in Louisville

clock June 2, 2017 15:44 by author Thomas

Kentucky EPSCoR announced today that the National Science Foundation  Grants Conference it is hosting has quickly reached capacity. The conference will take place June 5-6, at the Hyatt Regency in Louisville.

Three hundred and twenty-five conference registrants, including 86 from Kentucky, will spend two days attending presentations and interacting with NSF staff to better understand NSF-funded research opportunities and obligations.  Attendees hope to increase their likelihood of winning research funding, complying with grant requirements and producing impactful research results.

"KY EPSCoR is pleased to be able to host the National Science Foundation in our state," said F. Richard Kurzynske, director of Kentucky’s statewide EPSCoR Program. "The KY EPSCoR Program has been the channel for over $550 million in competitively won research funding which is expanding the Commonwealth’s research infrastructure, promoting STEM-H (science, technology, engineering, mathematics. and health) education and nurturing a culture of innovation. Federal research funding fosters knowledge-based prosperity by expanding the science and engineering capabilities of Kentucky’s workforce."

Agenda items address types of NSF opportunities, proposal preparation, the award management process, financial reporting processes and related topics.

Representatives from 38 states and 144 research institutions, including the University of Kentucky as well as many of the Commonwealth’s public comprehensive universities and technical colleges, will be in attendance.

For more information, visit www.nsfgrantsconferences.com.



UK CAER scientist Mike Wilson awarded third UK Sustainability Challenge Grant

clock April 24, 2017 09:35 by author Thomas

Michael Wilson has many passions.

There’s his affinity for whitewater kayaking. It doesn’t take too much arm twisting to convince Wilson to head to the mountains for a weekend of camping and riding the currents.

There’s his love for science and discovery. Getting into the laboratory to discover or build something new – that will always be appealing.

 

But it is another of Wilson’s passions that will be keeping him busy in 2017. Wilson received his third consecutive University of Kentucky Sustainability Challenge Grant earlier this year, and the project has him energized.

“This grant is what a major research university should be all about,” said Wilson. “It will allow us to bring in five undergraduate students from a broad range of disciplines to create a novel interdisciplinary research program. It will allow students from various academic interests to pool their skills and know-how to attack a real issue around sustainability. I can’t wait to get started.”

Wilson is in the midst of recruiting students (http://ukjobs.uky.edu/postings/142465) to take part in this unique program. Students will be recruited from a variety of campus programs, including engineering, chemistry, sustainability and design – just to name a few. In addition to being directly involved in the day-to-day execution of research both on campus and at the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER), this cadre of students will be exposed to regular scientific seminars, in-depth lab tours, design thinking/iteration, and professional development opportunities that will include résumé formatting and interview etiquette. 

This project will leverage educational assessment tools that can help evaluate the academic progress of the students as well as evaluating their knowledge of the importance of research, design processes and sustainability. In addition, the research data generated from the project will be utilized to prepare a National Science Foundation (NSF) proposal that will seek to develop a more formal undergraduate research experience at UK CAER.  

The Sustainability Challenge Grant program was created to engage multidisciplinary teams from the University community in the creation and implementation of ideas that will promote sustainability by simultaneously advancing economic vitality, ecological integrity and social equity. In the first three years of the program, 20 projects have been awarded a total of $500,000 to pursue transformational, sustainability-driven projects on our campus and beyond.

Wilson has received funding for sustainability projects each of the first three years. The first two projects involved a collaborative UK team that was designing a sustainable bus shelter with Martin Summers (School of Architecture) that incorporated advanced design concepts, solar-power generation, water collection systems, and energy/sustainability education. 

Wilson also wanted to extend thanks to those who helped and contributed to this effort. 

“A huge debt of gratitude is owed to numerous collaborators, students, and co-workers for contributing to any progress made; and especially Dr. Mark Crocker for his support in this endeavor.”

The new project builds upon Wilson’s past experience in research and undergraduate research mentoring, with the hope of expanding and enhancing a sustainable undergraduate research program at UK.  

“I look forward to learning as much from the students as they will learn from this program,” said Wilson. “To me, that’s the exciting part. Getting a chance to teach and learn alongside these students is why I enjoy doing what I do.”

 

 



NC State Professor presents seminar on carbon nanotubes

clock April 18, 2017 16:01 by author Thomas

Dr. Phillip Bradford, an Associate Professor in the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science at North Carolina State University, presented a seminar at the UK Center for Applied Energy Research on Tuesday, April 18.

The presentation focused on the work of his research group in their effort to synthesize a special type of carbon nanotube structure called drawable CNT arrays, the production of aligned CNT structures from these CNT arrays and the development of advanced materials with the aligned CNTs as the primary component. Applications of interest include multifunctional composites, electrodes for electrochemical devices, low density foams and filtration. 

 



UK CAER Hosts Annual Energy Fair

clock April 3, 2017 12:03 by author Thomas

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research’s annual Energy Fair experienced massive growth in 2017, serving twice as many students as last year while expanding its reach to two new communities. 

Held each year, the UK CAER Energy Fair provides elementary school students in Fayette County a hands-on, interactive introduction to science, engineering and research. Students learn about various energy-related topics including electricity, mining, biofuels, motors, solar panels, and electromagnets. In addition, students had the opportunity to learn about creating a sustainable energy future for the Commonwealth.

Held on March 28-29 at UK’s Memorial Coliseum, this year’s program served more than 660 fourth-grade students from Fayette County as well as students from schools in Paris and Tollesboro, Kentucky.

"The growth is a testament to our scientists and researchers here at UK CAER and partner organizations who are committed to delivering high-quality, hands-on demonstrations to students," said Shiela Medina, Assistant Director for Policy and Engagement at UK CAER. "To double in size from last year and to provide an opportunity to students outside of Fayette County was terrific. We thank everyone who helped make the Energy Fair a success."


 

 



UKCAER Graduate Student Participates in East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Program

clock March 15, 2017 15:04 by author Thomas

Ryan Loe, a graduate student at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research, recently visited Australia as part of the National Science Foundation's East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Program.

This program, according to the NSF's website works like this: "NSF and selected foreign counterpart science and technology agencies sponsor international research institutes for U.S. graduate students in seven East Asia and Pacific locations."

"It allows you to partner with a research institute for about a three-month period to work... with a researcher of your choice," Ryan explained. "My project in Australia was working with converting plant oils and animal fats into diesel fuel. ... My main goal in Australia was to generate new supports [for catalysts] that are unique and have different morphologies that will hopefully have a positive effect [on that]."

The video below, posted on UK CAER's youtube channel, is Ryan explaining not only how useful the experience was professionally, but also how enriching and enjoyable it was from a cultural standpoint.

Ryan Loe is a native of Columbus, Ohio. He received his Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Muskingum University in Ohio. He is currently a graduate student working in UK CAER’s Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group under his faculty mentor, Mark Crocker. Ryan’s research is focused on converting liquids to a renewable fuel.



Weisenberger Mill featured in Lexington Herald Leader

clock March 7, 2017 10:20 by author Thomas

The Department of Energy-funded partnership between the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research and Weisenberger Mill has been featured in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

 

The story can be found here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/tom-eblen/article136186728.html



Industry, Academic Leaders Appointed to UK CAER Advisory Board

clock March 7, 2017 09:50 by author Thomas

Industry, Academic Leaders Appointed to UK CAER Advisory Board

Twenty-four experts from industry, academia and government have accepted appointments to serve on the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research Advisory Board. The advisory board, which will meet in April 2017, provides counsel and guidance to the Center about emerging trends in energy research and development.

“I thank all of the advisory board members for their willingness to serve,” said Rodney Andrews, Director of the Center. “The depth and breadth of expertise will provide the Center and our research teams with valuable, strategic insight."

Since 1977, UK CAER has served as one of the nation’s premier energy research and development institutes, collaborating with companies and government agencies to help maximize Kentucky’s – and the nation’s – energy resources.

From discovering carbon capture technologies to developing new uses for coal combustion byproducts and working to expand energy and manufacturing options through the development of renewable biofuels, carbon fiber materials, novel energy storage, and solar technology, UK CAER’s scientists and investigators are focused on solving energy problems facing communities across the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the nation and around the world.

  • Robert Addington, Retired, Energy Executive and Entrepreneur
  • Rocky Adkins, Kentucky State Representative
  • Jared Carpenter, Kentucky State Senator
  • Joe Craft, President & CEO, Alliance Resource Partners, L.P.
  • David Drake, UK CAER Advisory Board Chair; Retired, Energy Executive
  • Brian Goodall, Vice President, Valicor Renewables & Valicor Nutraceuticals
  • William Haneberg, Director, Kentucky Geological Survey
  • Greg Higdon, President & CEO, Kentucky Association of Manufacturers
  • Rick Honaker, Chair, UK Department of Mining Engineering
  • George Huber, Harvey D. Spangler Professor       , University of Wisconsin Madison
  • Mark Meier, Chair, UK Department of Chemistry
  • Kevin Mussler, Vice President, CMTA Inc.
  • Michael Portwood, President, Minova-Americas
  • Keith Roberts, Materials & Structures Technology Area Lead, AMRDEC
  • Warren Schimpf, Technical Advisory, Advanced Fiber Technologies, Inc.
  • Sara Smith, President, Smith Management Group
  • Charles G. Snavely, Secretary, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet
  • James J. (Jerry) Spivey, James M. Shivers Professor, Louisiana State University
  • Richard Sturgill, CEO, BPM Lumber, LLC
  • Paul Thompson, President and Chief Operating Officer, LG&E and KU Energy LLC
  • Brad Toon, Senior Management Consultant, Sargent & Lundy
  • Mitzi R. Vernon, Dean and Professor, UK College of Design
  • Robert H. Wombles, Vice President of Global Customer Technical Service, Koppers Inc.
  • John Wright, Executive Vice President, Owensboro Grain Co.

 



UK CAER and KY Energy Cabinet Host Workshop

clock March 3, 2017 16:56 by author Thomas

The Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) and the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER), in cooperation with the Kentucky Department for Local Government (DLG), are hosting a High Performance Public Facilities Workshop, March 22 in Hazard, Kentucky. The workshop's goal is to educate Kentucky’s city and county government officials save money through reducing energy consumption.

Local government officials and others responsible for managing public facilities are encouraged to attend the workshop to be held at the Hazard Community Technical College. Pre-registration cost is $75 and may be made online at http://www.kyhighperformance.org/. Public officials may earn 6.75 professional development units from DLG for attending. Continuing education credits are also available through the Kentucky League of Cities, UK CAER and the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Kentucky.

“The procurement and upgrade of energy saving technologies for public facilities are often necessary to reduce wasteful spending and budgetary inefficiencies,” said DLG Commissioner Sandra Dunahoo. “Local officials have numerous opportunities to utilize these cost saving advances in technology to not only enrich their communities but practice better fiscal stewardship.”

Experts from public and private sectors and officials from state and local governments will present energy saving strategies. Attendees will learn from their peers, with case studies offering personal accounts about overcoming obstacles and achieving savings through high-performance building strategies.

“The goal of the workshop is to help public officials understand how to save on their utility expenses and put those savings to more important things,” said Lee Colten, Assistant Director, Department for Energy Development and Independence.  “We like to say:  Save money.  Fix stuff.

“Whether it’s a municipal building, a water or waste-water treatment facility, there are a number of energy efficiency strategies that can offer significant savings.  Everyone attending the workshop will leave knowing how to translate energy efficiency strategies into action in the day-to-day operations of their public facilities.”



Secretary Snavely visits CAER

clock February 14, 2017 10:05 by author Thomas

UK CAER hosted Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely on Friday, February 10. It was a pleasure hearing from him and sharing the UK CAER story.


 



Weisenberger, Craddock Receive US Patent

clock February 14, 2017 09:55 by author Thomas

A breakthrough from UK CAER’s Materials Technologies Group has resulted in a U.S. Patent. Matt Weisenberger and John Craddock received the patent award for their project entitled “apparatus and method for harvesting carbon nanotube arrays.” The discovery will allow scientists to create large nanotube arrays that will play an integral role in creating high-value composite materials.




CAER hosts seminar on Textile Electronic System Design

clock February 9, 2017 15:13 by author Thomas

On Thursday, UK CAER hosted Dr. Jesse Jur, an Assistant Professor of Textile Engineering, Chemistry & Science at NC State University's College of Textiles, the global leader in textile education and research. His current research focuses on integration of systems electronics into wearable platforms for energy harvesting and monitoring of a person's environmental and physiological state.

 

 

 

The presentation reviewed activity in the NEXT (Nano-Extended Textiles) research group at NC State, focused on the use of engineering design principles to develop integration and materials strategies of electronics in textiles that are industry relevant now and novel techniques that enable future industry growth. Through the examination of those methods at a system level, an understanding of their impact and relevance can be defined and iterated for improved performance. Of particular interest is the development of sensing systems that harvest energy from the human body. The performance of the textile electronics in relation to complex human scenarios, based on the user’s activity and external environment, are assessed to understand sensing performance and self-powered strategies.



New paper published in the CCGP Journal

clock February 2, 2017 13:33 by author Alice

Effect of Coal Fly Ash Leachate on the Bioluminescence Intensity of Vibrio fischeri

Authors:  Shiro Ikeda, Irena Kostova, Hideaki Sekine, Yoshika Sekine

Coal fly ash is a residue of coal-fired thermoelectric power plants (TPPs) and is mostly dumped in ash ponds or landfill sites, even though it potentially contains significant amounts of water-soluble hazardous contaminants. Bioassay using the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri is known to be applicable for assessing the short-term and sublethal toxicity of complex mixtures without the need for precise chemical characterization. However, this type of bioassay is potentially adversely influenced by the pH-induced protein denaturation of cells. Because coal fly ash leachates often have alkaline or acidic properties, when applying the V. fischeri–based bioassay to the samples, we need to know potential effect of the leachates on the bioluminescence of the bacteria. This study accordingly aimed to investigate the feasibility of applying the V. fischeri bioassay to coal fly ash leachate
as a screening method. Fly ash samples were collected from 12 TPPs located in three East European countries: Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia.

 

The fly ash samples were prepared in sterilized distilled water by ultrasonic extraction and filtration using 0.45-mmΦ membrane filters. The filtrates were then mixed with a solution of the test bacterium. The bioluminescence intensity was measured using a luminometer. The results showed the ostensible influence of pH on bioluminescence intensity pronounced when following the typical protocol using a 5.0‐g/L solid:liquid ratio. Accordingly, the pH of water extracts should be adjusted to within a range of 6 to 9 by dilution to observe the inhibition of bioluminescence by coal fly ash leachate as the objective endpoint.

 

The full-text of the paper may be viewed/downloaded at the Coal Combustion and Gasification Products journal website: http://www.coalcgp-journal.org/

The CCGP journal is jointly published by the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UKCAER) and the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA).



UK CAER Named to RAPID Manufacturing USA Institute

clock December 20, 2016 16:02 by author Thomas

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER) has been named a collaborator to the nation’s newest Manufacturing USA Institute. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) will be the tenth Manufacturing USA Institute.

Earlier this year, DOE called for the establishment of a Manufacturing Innovation Institute on Modular Chemical Process Intensification for Clean Energy Manufacturing. AIChE developed the RAPID Institute proposal in collaboration with the Savannah River National Laboratory and the Georgia Institute of Technology. To date, RAPID has enlisted 75 companies, 34 academic institutions, 7 national laboratories, 2 other government laboratories, and 7 non-governmental organizations from all regions of the country. These partners have committed to cost shares that leverage DOE’s $70 million contribution over 5 years, with total project spending exceeding $140 million. RAPID’s partners come from energy-intensive industries and range from small to large enterprises.

This is the third Manufacturing USA Institute in which UK CAER is a member. The Center’s Power Generation Group will be working with RAPID on projects. The Center’s Materials Technologies Group is already a member of The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) and the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA).

In making the announcement at the U.S Council on Competitiveness 2016 National Competitiveness Forum, DOE Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Friedman said, “Our investment in this cross-cutting technology is an investment in the future of manufacturing in the U.S. As we expand the Manufacturing USA network, we provide greater opportunities for businesses of all sizes to solve their toughest technology challenges and unleash major savings in energy-intensive sectors like oil and gas, pulp and paper-making and other industries.” 

“The RAPID team is thrilled and energized by DOE’s decision,” said RAPID Chief Executive Officer Karen Fletcher. “We are confident we can meet DOE’s goals of reduced energy usage and feedstock waste, and improved productivity, through our focus on integrating unit processes into single modular hardware elements that are cost effective, with high efficiency and scalability.” 

AIChE Executive Director June Wispelwey said that RAPID’s ability to address the process intensification challenge “builds on AIChE’s decades of experience managing technical centers,” such as the Center for Chemical Process Safety. She explained that “our RAPID partners, especially our national laboratory partners like Savannah River, each bring unique areas of expertise in process intensification,” ranging from separations, catalysis and transport processes, to kinetics and reaction engineering, to bear on this important manufacturing challenge.

Wispelwey emphasized that RAPID will work closely with the other Manufacturing USA Institutes, which have common goals but distinct concentrations, to assure cooperation and share approaches to commercializing “step-change” innovations. To that end, she said AIChE will use its substantial educational resources to train students and the workforce in the application of the new modular process intensification tools. She also stressed that, before undertaking this challenge, she made sure that there are solid plans for RAPID to become financially self-sustaining within the five years of DOE’s support.