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.

Record Breaking Catalysis Conference Organized by CAER Researchers

clock June 13, 2013 11:00 by author Marybeth McAlister

 

The record-breaking 23rd Meeting of the North American Catalysis Society got off on a fast track at an opening reception at Churchill Downs this month.  A large portion of the successful conference was organized by University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy catalysis scientists.

This biennial meeting, with its large international participation, is the premier scientific event in the field of catalysis.  The Tri-State Catalysis Society hosted the 23rd North American Meeting (NAM) in Louisville and this event surpassed all previous NAMs with 1,300 attendees, 54 exhibitors, 400 oral presentations, 600 posters, $278K in general sponsorship from 38 sponsors, and $75K in Kokes awards to enable students to participate in the meeting.

CAER researcher Uschi Graham was the co-meeting chair, along with Umit Ozkan (The Ohio State) and Madan Bhasin (MATRIC). CAER Associate Director Burt Davis was the honorary chair; and CAER researcher Gary Jacobs chaired the Kokes Student Award Committee.

 

 



Girls Learn from Female Mentors

clock June 12, 2013 11:06 by author Marybeth McAlister

 

CAER researchers Anne Oberlink and Liz Harman-Ware reached out to high school girls at the EKU Girls’ STEM Day recently. The scientists were accompanied by two high girls who recently toured CAER. STEM practitioners and educators led girls through activities that mirror real-world STEM tasks and highlight creative and innovative problem solving.  Anne and Liz exhibited and served as mentors.

Anne (left) and Liz



UNNOW Reports on CAER and Russell Cave Science Lessons

clock May 21, 2013 13:33 by author Alice

UKNOW Story on Fourth-Graders Get hands-on Science at CAER.

This is the 10th year of the partnership between Russell Cave Elementary School and the UK CAER.  



CAER Graduate Students Receive Awards from Geological Society of America

clock May 6, 2013 10:53 by author Marybeth McAlister

Michelle Johnston and Trent Garrison, MS & PhD students, respectively, in Earth & Environmental Sciences and doing their research in the CAER's Applied Petrology Lab, received awards from the Geological Society of America's Coal Geology Division.  Michelle is the recipient of the GSA Coal Division’s Antoinette Lierman Medlin Lab/Analytical Research Award.  The selection is for her work to characterize the coal macerals and ultimately understanding of peat accumulation and depositional environment for the Leatherwood coal. The amount of the award is $1,500.


Trent is the recipient of the GSA Coal Division’s Antoinette Lierman Medlin Field Award for his work to examine water quality impacts in area of coal fires.  The amount of the award is $1,000. This is the second time that CAER petrology students have won both Medlin Awards.  Jen O'Keefe and Sarah Mardon swept the awards in 2006.



CAER Celebrates Earth Day at Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council Event

clock May 1, 2013 14:20 by author Marybeth McAlister

 

 This year's Sustainability Expo took place at Locust Trace Agriscience Farm, a local Fayette County public school that focuses on agricultural resources and the environment. CAER participated with staff explaining energy sustainability to children from the school.




New KYNSF EPSCoR Video

clock April 25, 2013 10:59 by author Marybeth McAlister

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Qxn1sYxCSY&list=EC9A8E3870D1898DB0&index=1

 



Grimminger Supervises BCTC Regional Science Olympiad

clock April 19, 2013 14:14 by author Marybeth McAlister

On March second Marsha Grimminger, of the Electrochemistry Group, designed questions related to a science challenge geared toward high school chemistry students for Bluegrass Community and Technical College's Regional Science Olympiad. They were not told of the specific topic before the event. The 18 students collected data through experimentation and compared results.



CAER and UK Pharmacy Join in Medicine Development Efforts

clock April 18, 2013 12:11 by author Marybeth McAlister

 

 Petrologist Jim Hower and Eastern Kentucky Regional Coordinator Greg Copley are assisting Jon Thorson, UK Pharmacy, in locating and sampling extreme environments in Kentucky.  Such sites include soils associated with coal mine fires; waters associated with swamps, sulfur springs, acid mine drainage; and the spoils from lead and zinc mining.  Thorson’s research group is hoping to isolate previously unknown antibiotics and other drugs from microorganisms in the environment. Recent sampling took place in Owen and Henry Counties.

Here Madan Kharel (Pharmacy) is obtaining a sample while CAER's  John Hiett stands ready to assist.



Former Student Wins Award

clock April 15, 2013 10:19 by author Marybeth McAlister

 

Congratulations to Rachel Hatch, M.S. candidate, who was just awarded a $2,000 graduate student grant from the Geological Society of America for her proposal entitled: “Effects of petroleum hydrocarbon exposure following the Deepwater Horizon spill on tidal marsh sedimentary and biological processes: An investigation using radioisotopes and benthic foraminifera.” 

Rachel worked in the petrology lab for two years as an undergraduate.




CAER Renewable Energy Building Contractor Receives Award

clock April 8, 2013 11:36 by author Marybeth McAlister

 Turner Construction Company, a general contractor firm based in Lexington, was recognized for its construction manager involvement with the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) Renwable Energy Research Lab. The construction of the new 43,000 square foot, high-performance laboratory will lower operation costs of CAER, while increasing education about the numerous energy technologies implemented in the building.



High School Students' CAER-mentored Projects Win at Recent Science Fairs

clock April 8, 2013 11:11 by author Marybeth McAlister

 

Four local high school students who were mentored by University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research scientists have proved experience gain by working in laboratories with mentors is invaluable.

Valerie Sarge, a junior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, placed first in the Energy and Transportation category at the Central Kentucky Regional Science and Engineering Fair, going on to win first place in the same category at the state competition. This qualifies her to go on to Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) to be held in Phoenix. Valerie was mentored by Chemistry Professor/CAER Faculty Associate, John Anthony. In her work with the solar energy group she is using organic compounds called furan-based materials. These can be derived from agricultural waste products to create new semiconductors for use in low-cost solar cells. She is has been working on synthesis, but may soon move toward creating solar cells.

Will Kimmerer, a ninth grader at Sayre School, won top awards at the regional and state fairs in the Environmental Science category, including second in the Physical Sciences category. Kimmerer is interested in water purification and obtained carbon material samples for use in his project from CAER working closely with Director Rodney Andrews during the project. He was selected for the I-SWEEP 2013 conference (International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project) in Houston, where he will present his work. Additionally, he was selected for the Stockholm Junior Water Award.

Additionally, two Dunbar CAER interns placed well at the regional level and went on to compete at the state competition. Rohin Lohe placed first in the "Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering" category, and went on to place third at the state competition. Lohe will compete at the Kentucky Junior Academy of Sciences on April 27th. John Luan also won in the “Energy and Transportation” category at regionals.

Matt Weisenberger, Associate Director for Carbon Materials, is mentoring Lohe with a project titled "Finite Element Analysis of Heat Conduction through Interfaces: Modeling and Experimental Verification with Stainless Steel, Copper, and Multiwall Carbon Nanotube Arrays as Thermal Interface Materials." Lohe has been conducting his research at the UK CAER laboratory facilities and working directly with the Carbon Materials Research staff in completing the tests.

Finally, Lohe’s project included part of the expertise gained while working with CAER’s Electrochemical Power Sources group under the direction of Associate Director Steve Lipka.  John is working on a project entitled “Carbon-based Capacitive Thin Films for AC Line Filtering” in which the goal is to demonstrate whether carbon-based supercapacitors can be used as a lower-cost, more-dependable replacement for traditional electrolytic capacitors in electronic devices.  



CAER Graduate Student Wins Best Student Poster Award at Renewable Energy Conference

clock March 28, 2013 14:00 by author Marybeth McAlister

 Congratulations to CAER graduate student Liz Ware-Harmon. She won first prize for a student poster at the 2013 Workshop on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in Louisville at the KY International Convention Center. It was hosted by the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the University of Louisville. The paper was titled,"Pyrolysis-GC/MS Characterization of Bioenergy Crops," and was co-authored with Mark Crocker and Seth Debolt.

CAER researcher Robert Pace also presented a poster titled, "Qualitative Evaluation of Biomass Solubility Trends Among Dialkyl Imidazolium Chloride Ionic Liquids: A Microscopy Based Approach." It was co-authored by Mark Crocker, Samuel A. Morton III, Andrew J. Placido, Andrew R. Sharits (There were no awards given in the professional category.)

The University of Kentucky helped to support this meeting.

 



Sustainable Williamson Hosts Tour for UK CAER Representative

clock March 25, 2013 13:46 by author Marybeth McAlister

 


Sustainable Williamson is buildng free-market model that provides people and communities the ability to be economically diverse, while creating jobs an opporunities.  Copley is pictured with SW's Eric Mathis

and Patriot CEO Roger Ford

   Sustainable Williamson (WVA) recently met with UK CAER's Greg Copley and provided him a tour of the work underway with the Sustainable Williamson development project.  Copley met with Eric Mathis, who is heading up the development project; Jenny Hudson, with the Mingo County Diabetes Coalition; and Roger Ford, Patriot Bioenergy CEO.

Copley toured the Smart Office, an innovative design concept for sustainable construction, and a solar power array located atop the historic Mountaineer Hotel in downtown Williamson, along with SW's community garden initiative that provides public housing residents nearby access to plots for farming and fresh produce.

SW is a free-market sustainable development approach to strengthen and revitalize Williamson, West Virginia.

 



New Position Available from Power Generation Research

clock March 18, 2013 17:14 by author Alice

New Position for a Post Doc Scientist now advertised from the Power Generation Research Group at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research.



UK CAER Assists Local High School Student Win Top Awards at Science Fair

clock March 11, 2013 10:13 by author Alice

Will Kimmerer, a Lexington high school student, won top awards at a recent regional science fair held in Lexington, Kentucky. Will secured carbon material samples for use in his project from University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research and worked closely with CAER Director, Dr. Rodney Andrews, during the project's progression.

At the Central Kentucky Regional Science and Engineering Fair held March 2, 2013, Will was awarded the top prize in the high school Environmental Science category. He was selected for the I-SWEEP 2013 conference (International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project). He will present his work in Houston in May 2013.

Additionally Will was selected for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. He will compete at the state science fair against seven other Stockholm winners for a chance to present at a conference in Chicago in June 2013. And finally, he will advance to compete at the State Science and Engineering Fair.



Daniel Grubb, Former UK CAER Student, in Alltech Program

clock March 10, 2013 19:09 by author Alice

UK NOW recent story indicates that twenty recent college graduates from across the globe currently are taking part in the inaugural Alltech Graduate Academy, and four of the participants are Kentuckians, including two who are alumni of the University of Kentucky.

One of the recent UK college graduates that was chosen as part of an elite class of emerging leaders in global agribusiness is Daniel Grubb. Daniel, a chemistry major and physics minor at Georgetown College, worked at UK's Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) for three years, helping to devise ways to convert algae into biodiesel using various metal-supported catalysts.

Grubb said, "I learned to manage multiple projects at the same time while at Georgetown, then the opportunity to work alongside people from all over the world at CAER was a tremendous experience."

Read the entire story at UK Now Site: UK, Kentucky Connections Abound in Alltech Program



John Anthony is Featured in Videos for Science Works for U.S.

clock March 10, 2013 19:02 by author Alice

UK Now Story about training the next generation of highly skilled professors and industrial scientists include UK Chemistry Professor John Anthony in the story.  He joined other academics across the country who made videos for Science Works for U.S., a website of the Association of American Universities, the Science Coalition and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. 

More about the story can be found at UK Now Site -

UK Researchers Speak Out: Sequester Will Squelch Scientists-in-Training.

Dr. Anthony's solar group laboratories are housed in the UK CAER Lab 2 Renewables Building.



Science Fair Results - CAER High School Intern Places First in Regional Science Fair

clock March 10, 2013 18:50 by author Alice

Rohin Lohe, a high school student from Dunbar High School in Lexington, Kentucky recently competed and placed 1st out of six different projects in the "Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering" category at the Central Regional Science Fair on March 2, 2013. The top two projects qualify for state, so Rohin will be competing again on March 30th. The top 3 overall projects at state will get an all-expense paid trip to the Intel-ISEF science fair.

UK CAER Associate Director in Carbon Materials, Dr. Matt Weisenberger, is mentoring Rohin with a project entitled "Finite Element Analysis of Heat Conduction through Interfaces: Modeling and Experimental Verification with Stainless Steel, Copper, and Multiwall Carbon Nanotube Arrays as Thermal Interface Materials".

Rohin has been conducting his research at the UK CAER laboratory facilities and working directly with the Carbon Materials Research staff in completing the tests. Dr. Weisenberger and the CAER research staff send congratulations to Rohin. We are happy that such mentoring programs help young students be prepared for a potential career path in the science, materials and engineering fields.



BAE Mid-West Regional Rally Tours UK CAER

clock March 1, 2013 16:11 by author Alice

The 2013 BAE Mid-West Regional Rally - attended by various BAE student branches from such states as Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and others - toured the UK CAER facilities and met with research scientists on March 1, 2013.  They spoke with Rodney Andrews, UK CAER Director and then toured the new CAER Lab #2 Renewables Building.  They spoke with scientists from the Biofuels research area as well as a tour of the CAER Greenhouse.  They also toured the Minerals Processing and Carbon SpinLine Buildings and finished with a tour of the Power Generation lab.  

The Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Mid-West Rally is held each year in a different state to promote networking by holding meetings and tours to allow the students to learn about various engineering-related activities in the host state.  UK BAE Professor, Dr. Czarena Crofcheck, organized the tour.



UK CAER Collaborative Scientist Supports Graduate Student via NSF EPSCoR Grant

clock February 19, 2013 14:11 by author Alice
Dr. Jennifer O’Keefe of Morehead State University was just awarded an NSF EPSCoR Regional Research Enhancement Grant (R-REG). Dr. O'Keefe is a collaborating researcher with Dr. James Hower, in the UK CAER Petrology Laboratory. The grant will provide summer support for EES grad student Michelle Johnston, who also works at the UK CAER Petrology Lab. In addition to Dr. O'Keefe mentoring Michelle; Michelle will, in turn, be helping to mentor two of Jennifer’s female undergrad students.

 

The project will study the development of ancient organic sediments through palynology/mycology, organic petrography, geochemistry, and stratigraphic relationships, allowing them to explore past climate systems and predict future events. Beyond characterizing past and predicting future climate systems, they will explore small-scale (and sometimes large scale) perturbations of the carbon cycle through the interactions of plants with their decomposers.