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.

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.


Dunbar School UK CAER Intern Wins Local Science Fair

clock February 19, 2013 14:02 by author Alice

John Luan, a Dunbar High School student, who is interning with the Electrochemical and Power Systems UK CAER Research group, recently won at a local science fair in the Energy and Transportation category.  He will advance to the next level of competition.  John's project included part of his expertise earned while working in the Electochemistry research group. 



Lindsey Wilson College Students Interested in Biofuels Research

clock February 19, 2013 13:56 by author Alice

A group of about dozen college students interested in algae and biofuels research toured the UK CAER Lab 2 Renewables Building and the CAER Greenhouse that houses the center's CO2 algae project.  The students, from Lindsy Wilson College, interacted with energy researchers as well as touring the University's newest renewables research laboratory that features state-of-the-art energy saving techniques and processes.

 



UK College of Design Studio Visit to Center for Applied Energy Research

clock February 7, 2013 17:37 by author Alice

Members from the University of Kentucky College of Design Studio toured the UK Center for Applied Energy Research facilities (February 2, 2013).  The group toured CAER Lab #2 Renewable Building as well as visiting the Algae Greenhouse and Minerals Processing Laboratory.  CAER researchers spoke to the group at each stop, giving them a brief overview and primer of the energy research that is currently being done in that specific location. 



UK CAER Scientists Present at First-Ever SEC Symposium

clock February 4, 2013 15:30 by author Alice

Three University of Kentucky faculty members will present at the first-ever Southeastern Conference Symposium which will be held in Atlanta February 10-14, 2013.

John Anthony, UK's Gill Professor of Chemistry will present at a session about advanced materials for energy applications Dr. Anthony's laboratories are housed at the UK Center for Applied Energy Research Lab #2 Renewable Energy building.

Mark Crocker, associate director of UK CAER's Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis research group and Dr. Burt Davis, associate director of UK CAER's Clean Fuels and Chemicals research group will also present at the SEC Conference.Dr. Crocker will speak in a session about technologies for producing biopower, biofuels and biomaterials. Dr. Davis will present in an energy advances in transportation sector session.

More information can be found in UK's UK NOW news article.



UK CAER and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Fueling Capabilities

clock February 1, 2013 15:52 by author Alice

The city of Somerset has recently installed Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) fueling capabilities. Currently CNG prices range from $1.50 to $2.00 gasoline gallon equivalent. This will result in considerable cost savings for the city. The facility is located at the city’s refueling station on Chapel Dairy Road. The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research's Eastern Kentucky regional representative, Greg Copley, was on hand to observe a CNG powered Freightliner dump truck being refueled.

The dedicated fuel truck was in route from South Carolina to a truck show in Peoria, Illinois when the driver determined he needed to fuel up before making it to Louisville. He contacted the Somerset facility manager who agreed to sell enough CNG for the truck to get to Louisville.

One noticeable attribute of this type of vehicle is the lack of noise from the engine as it started and drove down the road. According to the driver, the truck has an automatic transmission and the truck seemed to handle hills well. Since this was the driver’s first experience driving this vehicle, its performance is still unknown at this point. There are four CNG tanks that can be operated separately or together to run the vehicle.



Montessori Middle School of Kentucky Tours UK CAER Greenhouse Lab

clock January 17, 2013 16:39 by author Alice
Several students from the Montessori Middle School of Kentucky toured the UK CAER Greenhouse Laboratory. This Montessori School is currently studying energy conservation and biofuels, specifically in the area of CO2 mitigation and control. The UK CAER greenhouse lab houses research concerning the utilization of waste CO2 and heat from a coal-fired power plant to cultivate algae, which could then be processed into fuel and other products. One of the major focuses of this research is to determine the most economically-favorable strategy regarding the production of biofuels or bioproducts from algae. Additionally lowering CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants is also a top priority.

 



Engineers Professional Society Tours CAER Renewables Lab

clock January 11, 2013 17:40 by author Alice

 

The Bluegrass Chapter of the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers (KSPE) toured the UK CAER Renewables Laboratory.  The group tours recently completed engineering projects and were very interested in this Murphy + Graves Architects project.  

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research recently completed construction on a new 43,000 square foot high-performance laboratory building that will allow expansion of the center's renewable and energy storage research. This research is devoted to Kentucky's growing renewable energy industries, including biomass and biofuels, electrochemical power sources (like capacitors and batteries), and distributed solar energy technologies.

The laboratory building design target was a 50 percent reduction in energy usage compared to similar facilities.



CAER to Help Advance UK HBEER Project

clock January 3, 2013 14:03 by author Alice

Recently the University of Kentucky received additional funding to help advance research in the Houseboat to Energy Efficient Residences (HBEER) project, which provides low-cost, energy efficient housing options to Kentuckians. The UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) will be developing public education framework about the HBEER project and disseminate findings throughout the state to bolster interest in energy efficient modular structures.

HBEER is a partnership between the UK College of Design, CAER, KHIC and the Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC). The multi-year project was initiated in the fall of 2009 and directly responds to the impact the current economic downturn has had on the houseboat manufacturing industry in the Commonwealth. As part of the partnership, more than 50 students and faculty at the UK School of Architecture were responsible for researching and developing initial models of energy-efficient, affordable housing that could be produced by the region's houseboat manufacturers.

The next phases of the HBEER project includes a prototype for multifamily housing, as well as classroom space for schools as an energy efficient and more durable alternative to portable classrooms.

Read more of the story at UKNOW.