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 Helping Fayette County Recycle Cooking Oil this Thanksgiving

clock November 21, 2016 13:46 by author Thomas

The UK Center for Applied Energy Research is partnering with several Kentucky organizations to help turn left-over Thanksgiving cooking oil into biofuel. 

The Gobble Grease Toss will be held Friday, November 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Redwood Cooperative School. The school is located on the same campus as Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church at 3534 Tates Creek Rd. Cooking oil will be used by the UK’s Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER), with additional cooking oil recycled by Kelley Green Biofuel.

“Redwood Cooperative School is very excited to host the annual Gobble Grease Toss and to provide a way for our community to recycle another common household item,” said Sarah Cummins, event coordinator at Redwood Cooperative School. “We embrace this opportunity to be environmental stewards and support renewable energy science."

Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez with UK CAER explains that they will use the oil for “a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation in which a novel technology to convert vegetable oils and animal fats to diesel and jet-fuel is being developed.” 

“Anytime we can give a waste product new life, we are interested,” said Dr. Santillan-Jimenez, who works in UK CAER’s Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group. “We also know that pouring grease down drains can cause real damage to sewer lines. This project helps us remove that waste product from homes and it allows Kelley Green Biofuel in Louisville to use that oil to power vehicles.” 

The Gobble Grease Toss is free for all Fayette County residents (no businesses, please). Citizens should bring the oil in a disposable container with a lid. 

For more information on the Gobble Grease Toss, call LexCall at 3-1-1 or 425-2255 or visit www.LexingtonKY.gov/LiveGreen.



CAER Researcher Presents at Biorefining Conference

clock November 16, 2016 10:56 by author Thomas

John Jennings, a scientist working in the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research's Environmental Catalysis Group, recently presented a poster at the "Frontiers in Biorefining 2016" conference. Held at St. Simons Island, GA, Frontiers in Biorefining is the 4th International Conference on Chemicals and Products from Renewable Carbon, hosted by the University of Tennessee Center for Renewable Carbon and the Southeastern Regional Sun Grant Center. Mr. Jenning's poster focused on the use of lignin, and was titled "Tin Beta Zeolite for Regioselective Baeyer-Villiger Oxidation of Lignin Model Compounds".



CAER facilitates student PGDP tour

clock November 15, 2016 13:59 by author Thomas

 

CAER's Kentucky Research Consortium on Energy and the Environment facilitated a tour of the Department of Energy's Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant for UK College of Design and Marshall County High School students. The tour was part of two larger projects: the Annual Site Evaluation Report, being written by the MCHS students; and the Atomic City Research Group studio by the UK CoD students.

Full story can be found on UKPR: here.



CAER Hosts Local Elementary Educators

clock October 19, 2016 13:58 by author Thomas

 

Last week, UK CAER's Robby Pace was educating elementary school students. This week, he was helping to teach teachers as part of a Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education "Energy in Elementary Education" grant.



CAER 101 comes to Cardinal Valley Elementary School

clock October 13, 2016 09:28 by author Thomas

UK CAER scientist Robby Pace provided a CAER 101 lesson by Lexington's Cardinal Valley Elementary School on Wednesday.

The CAER 101 project brings together scientists and children in a classroom setting. The scientists create lessons for local 4th and 5th graders, allowing them the opportunity to learn about energy science concepts, hands-on. Helping to make math and science fun and relevant to the next generation of Kentuckians is a major focus for UK CAER.



UK CAER Job Opening - Programmer

clock October 12, 2016 14:43 by author Thomas

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research is seeking a Programmer System Analyst (Senior). This position is responsible for design and implement schema changes of a large operational database. The ideal applicant must have the ability to change and create forms and system improvements to meet staff needs. It requires programming the Microsoft NET framework, as well as occasional on mobile development using Microsoft tools. This position supports end users with any issues arising from the database, or any of the database related software including installation or provisioning the department’s desktops, laptops or tablets with the front-end software needed to access the database, along with ODBC, DSNentries, etc.

 

This position will work 2 days at the Center’s support office in Frankfort for support of programming and databases and 3 days at the Center for Applied Energy Research facility in Lexington.

The job posting can be found on UKJobs here: https://ukjobs.uky.edu/postings/126218

 

 



Edrington Takes Second Place in Poster Competition

clock September 15, 2016 08:46 by author Thomas

UK CAER’s Sarah Edrington, a mechanical engineering graduate student at UK, placed second in the graduate category at the Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Composites Conference and Exhibition's student poster competition. Sarah was recognized for her poster entitled: “PAN Precursor Draw During Spinning: Effects on Mechanical Properties and Morphology of Resultant Carbon Fiber.” Sarah, who does research as part of CAER’s Carbon Materials Group, will continue her work with PAN carbon fiber precursor spinning as part of her thesis.




Workshop to Focus on Issues with Ponded Coal Combustion Products

clock September 13, 2016 11:34 by author Thomas

The UK Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER), American Coal Ash Association (ACAA), and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) are co-hosting a workshop this November to shine a spotlight on current issues with coal combustion products (CCPs).

The Midwest Workshop on Current Issues in Ponded CCPs will be held November 1-2 at the Radisson Hotel Cincinnati Riverfront.

The workshop will feature some of the world’s leading experts on coal combustion products. For a full list of speakers and to register for the event, check out the following website: http://www.worldofcoalash.org/ash/.

 (photo courtesy of Moretrench)



UK Center for Applied Energy Research Awarded Four Patents

clock September 6, 2016 14:48 by author Thomas

UK CAER researchers received four patents in August, out of a schoolwide-total of seven:

  • Darrell Taulbee and Robert Hodgen for “Enhancement of binding characteristics for production of an agglomerated product” (#9,428,705)
  • Steve Lipka and Christopher Schwartz for “Hybrid flow battery and Mn/Mn electrolyte system” (#9,413,025)
  • Joseph Remais, Cameron Lippert, and Kunlei Liu for “Method of increasing mass transfer rate of acid gas scrubbing solvents” (#9,409,125)
  • Kunlei Liu, Reynold Frimpong, and Kun Liu for “Hybrid process using a membrane to enrich flue gas CO2 with a solvent-based post-combustion CO2 capture system” (#9,409,120)

 These patents join the more than three-dozen patents already held by CAER researchers over the years.



UKCAER Alumnus Gives Talk on Patent Law

clock September 1, 2016 16:33 by author Alice

Dr. Rakesh Mehta (PhD, JD) from BakerHostetler located in Philadelphia, discussed patent law with University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research scientists and engineers. His specialty is chemical, materials, pharmaceutical, and mechanical patents. The title of his presentation was Patents Deconstructed—The What, the Why, the If, the When. He stated that confusion prevails when it comes to patents. If we can help deconstruct what patenting is, all will have gained something.

Rakesh Mehta is an alumnus of not only University of Kentucky, but also of CAER. His MS in 1994 was under CAER’s Dr. B.K. Parekh and PhD was under Dr. Kalika, chair of UK Chemical and Materials, in 1996. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship from Virginia Tech in 1997 under Dr. James McGrath in polymeric composites and joined DuPont as Research Engineer, where he spent seven years at the famous DuPont Experimental Station. He completed his JD simultaneously while working at DuPont and since 2004, has been practicing law, particularly intellectual property, first in Washington DC and then in Philadelphia area law firms. Currently, he is a Counsel at Baker Hostetler LLP, an AMLAW 100 firm with fourteen offices and about 950 lawyers.



UK CAER focus of CN2 feature

clock August 22, 2016 10:08 by author Thomas

 

Article - http://mycn2.com/politics/center-for-applied-research-focuses-on-kentucky-s-future-energy-needs-and-resources

 

CN|2's Don Weber covered the Kentucky Legislature's Special Subcommittee on Energy's meeting at the University of Kentucky's Center for Applied Energy Research. Following a business meeting where CAER Director Rodney Andrews gave a presentation on the Center's mission and activities in the past and in coming years, the group toured CAER's labs and grounds. There, legislators -- and Mr. Weber -- met with CAER scientists to get an up-close look at the operations there.

 

 



Center for Applied Energy Research Hosts Kentucky Energy Subcommittee

clock August 19, 2016 14:32 by author Thomas

 

The UK Center for Applied Energy Research hosted members of Kentucky’s Special Subcommittee on Energy on Friday for an update on Center’s research and development activities. The Subcommittee, comprised of members of both the Kentucky Senate and House of Representatives, heard a UK CAER presentation from Director Rodney Andrews and toured the Center’s research facilities.

 



UK CAER Staff Member Spends Summer Spinning Webs

clock August 17, 2016 09:05 by author Thomas

Ashley Morris, a senior research engineer in the UK Center for Applied Energy Research’s Materials Technologies Group, has spent the summer in the Bay Area serving as Interim Director of Fiber Spinning for synthetic spider silk startup, Bolt Threads.

Morris honed her skills over the past 8 years while developing UK CAER’s world class solution spinning line and has become an expert in the field of solution spinning (often used for the production of acrylic fibers, which can then be converted into carbon fiber). That experience provided her an opportunity to spend the summer at Bolt Threads, a venture backed startup producing synthetic spider silk, which is known to be five times stronger than steel and tougher than Kevlar.

Bolt’s scientists use recombinant technology to modify the genetic code of spider genes that make silk proteins and insert them into a strain of yeast. Fed with sugar and water and left to ferment, the yeast expresses the spider silk protein, which is then spun into fibers and converted into yarns for textiles. The company can tune the properties of the silk, making it, for example, “stretchier” or stronger, based on the genes inserted into the yeast.

Founded in 2009 and based in Emeryville, California, Bolt recently announced a partnership with Patagonia to develop goods from their proprietary spider silk-inspired fibers and textiles.

“Bolt Threads has offered me a terrific opportunity to work alongside some of the world’s top scientists and engineers in the field of biotechnology,” said Morris. “I am thankful for the opportunity to showcase leadership and technical skills gained at UK in a fast-paced startup environment, and the overall experience has made me a better researcher.” 



Donor Creates Award Program, Honoring Long-time Staff Member Marybeth McAlister

clock August 11, 2016 15:33 by author Alice

An anonymous donor has created a new award program at the UK Center for Applied Research (CAER), which is designed to recognize and honor staff excellence.

The program is named in honor of Marybeth McAlister, long-time Director of Communications for UK CAER. Called the Marybeth McAlister Memorial Outstanding Staff Award, the program will recognize one member of UK CAER’s support staff with this annual award each year.

“We are very grateful to have a donor step up and want to do something to honor both Marybeth’s legacy and current staff here at UK CAER,” said David Melanson, Assistant Director for External Affairs and Development. “I think such generosity speaks volumes to what staff do for the Center each and every day.”

Marybeth McAlister is remembered by her colleagues for her selfless spirit, empathy, attention to detail, and kind disposition. In short, the donor felt that naming this staff award in her honor was appropriate.

“We at the Center knew that Marybeth was someone we could always count on – no matter the situation,” said the donor.

In accepting this gift, the Center has committed to raise additional funding to ensure this program will continue in perpetuity.

If others would like to honor Marybeth and support this outstanding staff award program, contact Dave Melanson, Assistant Director for External Affairs and Development, at david.melanson@uky.edu or donate online at https://www.uky.edu/GiveNow/ (under Gift Information, select “Research” and then the “Marybeth McAlister Staff Award Gift Fund”).



UKCAER Seminar - Recent Developments in Emission Control

clock August 4, 2016 09:21 by author Alice

DATE: Monday, August 8, 2016
TIME: 3:15 – 4:30 pm
WHERE: Ben Bandy Conference Room, Lab 1

TITLE: Recent Developments in Emission Control
SPEAKER: Dr. Christine Lambert, Ford Motor Co.

ABSTRACT: Modern emission control devices for gasoline and diesel powertrains evolved over decades of development to meet ever more stringent emission standards. For example, the U.S. standards for nitrogen oxides (NOx) have decreased by 97% from 1974 to 2004. The most well-known device, the three-way catalyst, is used under stoichiometric conditions of spark-ignited engines and controls hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Newer devices include diesel oxidation catalysts, Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) systems for NOx, and diesel soot filters. The latest diesel emissions certifications in the U.S. include multifunctional devices like diesel soot filters with SCR catalytic coating. As emission standards continue to tighten in U.S., Europe, and China, research is focusing on HC traps, low temperature NOx adsorbers, N2O mitigation, and gasoline soot filters.



Latest Paper Published by CCGP Journal

clock July 26, 2016 11:52 by author Alice

The Coal Combustion and Gasification Products journal has published the following paper:

Distribution of Uranium and Other Radionuclides in Coal and Coal Combustion Products, with Discussion of Occurrences of Combustion Products in Kentucky Power Plants written by authors: James C. Hower, Shigeng Dai, Greta Eskenazy.

Abstract: Uranium and thorium are part of the mineral assemblages within coals. Uranium can also occur in organic associations, particularly in low-rank coals. While the average U concentration in coals is 2.9 ppm for low-rank coals and 1.9 ppm for bituminous and higher rank coals, high concentrations are known from certain low-rank and thin coals and from coals in areas associated with U mineralization. No high-U coals are mined for power production in the United States. Uranium and Th in coal combustion products are found in amounts more or less in proportion to their concentrations in the feed coal. Not being volatile elements, both U and Th are concentrated in the

Full text of article is at the CCGP Journal



UKCAER Tours Students from the Chinese University of Mining and Technology

clock July 25, 2016 18:20 by author Alice


The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research hosted a tour of 60 students from the Chinese University of Mining and Technology. The group is part of a two week Study Abroad program for the undergraduates and six faculty from CUMT (Chinese University of Mining and Technology). The UK Mining Engineering Department is working with the UK College of Business to host the group.



Summer Partnership with Kentucky State University

clock July 21, 2016 09:49 by author Thomas


Kazi Javed, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Kentucky State University (KSU), has always been committed to bringing science to life for his students. This summer, he is doing just that thanks to a unique partnership with the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER).


Dr. Javed, who teaches an analytical instrumentation class at KSU, is volunteering in the Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group here at UK CAER this summer. With a focus in the classroom on instrument design and method development, Dr. Javed is bringing KSU students to UK CAER’s lab this summer to introduce them and train them on instrumentation not available at KSU.

 

Joining Dr. Javed from KSU are four students: Ma’Kaylah Garrett, a biology student from Indianapolis, Indiana; Steven Hall, a mechanical engineering student from Frankfort, Kentucky; Andrew Lentini, a mechanical engineering student from Shelbyville, Kentucky; and Siraj Ramsey, a mechanical engineering student from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The mechanical engineering students are taking part in KSU and UK’s joint program, where the students attend KSU for three years and UK for two years. Participants receive a bachelor’s in mathematics from KSU and a UK engineering bachelor’s degree.

 

This collaborative work was made possible thanks to National Science Foundation grants entitled “MRI: Acquisition of a Gas Chromatograph with Dual Detection Capabilities to be Used in Sustainable Energy Research” (award number 1531637) and “SusChEM: Promotion of Nickel Catalysts for the Conversion of Biomass-derived Oils to Fuel-like Hydrocarbons” (award number 1437604). 



CCGP Journal Publishes Morpho-Chemistry and Microstructure of Bottom Ash

clock July 18, 2016 15:00 by author Alice

MORPHO-CHEMISTRY AND MICROSTRUCTURE OF MAGNETIC CONCENTRATES OF BOTTOM ASH SAMPLES OF THERMAL POWER PLANTS, ODISHA

Author: Subir Kumar Das, from CSIR - Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology, Bhubaneswar, India

Abstract: Magnetic particles in silico-aluminous bottom ash samples (NT-BA and HR-BA samples) of two thermal power plants of Talcher area, Odisha, India have been studied for determination of their concentration, morphology, internal structure and phase mineral composition. The amounts of magnetic concentrates in NT-BA and HR-BA samples are 25.7 and 4.03% respectively and the former particles are relatively coarse grained. In NT-BA sample, most of the magnetic particles are ideal solid spheres (ferrosphere) with diverse morphological features: smooth, skeletal, dendritic, octahedral, polygonal, granular, and spotted. The magnetic particles of HR-BA sample are fine grained, irregular to angular, mostly associated with glass matrix

The magnetite crystals occur as fine streaks, laths, lamellae and needles. Examination of the inner structure of the ferrospheres and irregular magnetic particles of concentrates of both the samples revealed that the magnetite crystals have different geometric patterns and association with different mineral phases indicating variations in crystallisation conditions in the combustion chamber. The magnetite crystals of HR-BA sample are extensively martitised. The EDS results indicated that in the magnetite, Fe is the dominant element with small amounts of Mn, Mg, Ca and Ti. These elements occur as diadochic replacement of ferrous ion in the magnetite crystal structure.

The glass coexisting with magnetite has highly variable chemical compositions mainly with respect to Si, Al and Fe; few glass particles are enriched in Fe. Detrital quartz grains are occasionally observed within the magnetic particles. The magnetite oxide crystallites in ferrospheres are derived from the decomposition and oxidation of iron-bearing minerals such as pyrite and clays minerals in feed coal during combustion in the thermal power plants.

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).



UKCAER Researchers Receive Swagelok Training

clock July 15, 2016 10:45 by author Alice
The Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis research group - at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research - hosted Mike Sallee from Swagelok for the 4th annual CAER Swagelok seminar. It focused on how to use tubing and tube fittings appropriately with an emphasis on safety. This seminar is very informational for staff and students alike. Many BEC staff go each time the class is offered because it is a good refresher and something new is learned. Thirteen people were in attendance this year (July 14).