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.

Members of Utilities Services Tour UK CAER

clock August 5, 2014 18:00 by author Alice


The East Kentucky Power Cooperative DSM steering committee met recently on the UK CAER energy campus and afterwards took a tour around the CAER energy labs including stops in the renewables building including the solar and biofuels research groups. Additionally they reviewed carbon materials lab; minerals/environmental lab; greenhouse; and the power generation unit . The DSM members include members in the distribution co-ops that deal directly with electric consumers.


The ASER Summary: Community Engagement at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant

clock July 11, 2014 15:43 by author Alice
The US Department of Energy (DOE) conducts environmental monitoring at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) and releases an Annual Site Environmental Report (ASER). Although available to the public, the ASER is developed for site managers and DOE Headquarters. This year, under the guidance of UK CAER’s Kentucky Research Consortium for Energy and the Environment (KRCEE), Marshall County High School AP Environmental Science will summarize what they have learned about the PGDP ASER. The goal is to educate local students about the operations and cleanup activities at the PGDP and communicate the students’ new knowledge to the public.

Leading up to the PGDP tour, DOE Program Manager, Tracey Duncan, and KRCEE Principle Investigators, Steve Hampson and Dr. Richard Hallbrook gave lectures on the history and environmental challenges of the PGDP. On May 13th, members of KRCEE, Marshall County students and staff were given a DOE guided tour of the PGDP.

 

Afterwards, the group assembled at the Western Kentucky Wildlife Management Area (WKWMA) lodge to experience a presentation with live specimens by Dr. Steven Price, UK, Dept. of Forestry. The group then toured the WKWMA as Tim Kreher, Kentucky Wildlife Biologist, explained ecological considerations, use and management at the WKWMA.


STEM CAMP 2014 Rocks ... Bounces, Clanks, Gurgles ... at UK CAER

clock June 30, 2014 15:03 by author Alice
UK CAER hosted 144 eager, young, potential scientists - incoming 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders - at the Spindletop Energy campus on June 24 and 25, 2014. The students were participating in the See Blue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Camp being held at the University of Kentucky. The week-long day camp is designed to help students explore and integrate the STEM disciplines through authentic hands-on projects and real world applications.

These potentially future engineers, geologists and chemists spent the day at CAER involved in rotating between six hands-on experiments, demos and activities generally related to energy. The stops included (see below picture, left to right):

  • Jeanne Hartinger, CAER Staff: Students used engineering concepts to create balloons to compete for the highest bounce by using any of the various materials provided (rubber bands, tape, paper clips, washers) to make the balloon the correct shape, weight, diameter, or mass.
  • Jack Groppo, CAER Engineer: Students learned the basic concepts for water treatment (flocculation) by adding chemicals to suspensions of fine particles to cause rapid settling and produce clear water for recycling.
  • Mike Wilson, CAER Engineer: An outdoors "Energy Walk" combined physical activity with experiential learning by clarifying how much energy it takes to use various household electrical appliances in a typical home.
  • Robert Pace, CAER Scientist: A look at the energy dashboard of the CAER's renewable energy lab was part of the Newton's Cradle activity which utilizes a device that demonstrates conservation of momentum and energy via a series of swinging spheres.
  • Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez, CAER Scientist: The fossil fuels and biofuels race taught kids about the conversion of different starting materials – such as biomass and petroleum – to fuel, while at the same time making them aware of the economic and environmental costs associated with these transformations.
  • Anne Oberlink, CAER Scientist: A visit to the CAER minerals laboratory provided children a hands-on experience utilizing cement, and learning about coal ash, an energy-related by-product, to create a personalized paving stone.


UKNOW's CAER 101 Article and UK REVEAL Video

clock June 4, 2014 15:18 by author Alice
UK Scientists Energize Lessons for Local Fourth Graders - UKNow Campus Article - The "CAER 101" education program, which UK's Center for Applied Energy Research started 12 years ago in partnership with Russell Cave Elementary School, was expanded this year to include Liberty and Yates elementary schools as well. More ...

 

UK CAER Scientists making their contribution to the education mission of the University of Kentucky includes Jack Groppo, Ashley Morris, Mike Wilson, Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez, Robby Pace, Anne Oberlink, Bob Jewell, Lisa Richburg, and Andy Placido. They developed a dynamic education program for the 4th graders at three Lexington local elementary schools. The scientists along with Marybeth McAlister (and later Alice Marksberry) worked with the scientists and teachers in developing the education modules and spending time with those inquiring young minds.

 

Marybeth, the CAER communications manager, developed the initial educational outreach program efforts over 10 years ago at the Russell Cave School. In January 2014, she died unexpectedly and the CAER and FCPS teachers have continued with the project in part as a tribute to her.

 



DEDI New Personnel Visit UK CAER

clock June 4, 2014 13:37 by author Alice
New staffers at DEDI (Department for Energy Development and Independence, part of the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Energy and Environment Cabinet) toured various UK CAER science areas to better understand the various types of research activities that occur at the energy center. In addition to an introduction by Dr. Rodney Andrews, CAER Director, the renewables lab included the building's green characteristics as well as solar, elecrochemical power sources and biofuels research areas. Also included on the tour was the petrology lab, clean fuels and chemicals lab, power generation lab demo, briquetting, algae greenhouse, carbon materials and minerals research labs.


KAM Tours UK CAER Labs

clock June 4, 2014 13:32 by author Alice

 

Individuals from the Kentucky Manufacturing Association toured CAER labs recently to help develop potential partnerships between Kentucky's manufacturing industry and UK CAER.


UK Alum Tours UK CAER

clock June 4, 2014 13:25 by author Alice
Milton Huffaker, a 1957 UK Physics alumni toured UK CAER during a visit to the University of Kentucky campus to view and discuss various entrepreneur projects, which is the focus of his company, Coherent Investments. Mr. Huffaker toured various research areas at CAER including carbon materials, F-T, minerals, biofuels, batteries and algae.


UK CAER Shiela Medina Collaborates on the Kentucky Electricity Portfolio Model Report - UKNOW Story

clock April 15, 2014 10:42 by author Alice
Today's UKNOW reports on "UK, Energy Cabinet Forecast Kentucky's Energy Future" - A team of students and researchers from the University of Kentucky Department of Statistics and the UK Center for Applied Energy Research worked last summer with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to evaluate energy and environmental policy under a range of potential carbon dioxide regulatory scenarios. More...

 

The UK team included several students,Department of Statistics Professor Arne Bathke, and department Chair Arnold Stromberg. From CAER, Shiela Medina served in leadership role for the project team.


UK CAER Field Rep Visits 2014 CEDAR Coal Fair

clock April 11, 2014 15:42 by author Alice
CAER field representative Greg Copley visited the CEDAR coal fair and photographed the displays from the Science and Math categories. The 2014 Coal Education Development and Resource (CEDAR) Coal Fair was held April 8-11 at the University of Pikeville. Eastern Kentucky students (grades are K-4, 5-8, 9-12.) competed with posters and model displays of the coal industry to demonstrate how science and math are applied in real world situations which included:

 

- how coal is used to create electricity,
- how much coal a household uses,
- how mining provides economic opportunities
- how coal can clean water.

 



CAER 101 Project Brings Scientists into the Classroom

clock April 7, 2014 18:39 by author Alice

 

The CAER 101 project is bringing together scientists and children in a classroom setting. The scientists create lessons for 4th and 5th graders which allows the students have fun while learning sound energy science concepts in hands-on demos and lessons.

 

Tammy Lane, web editor from the Fayette County Public School System, does a great job of explaining the concept in an article posted today, April 7, 2014 on the FCPS web site:

 

- CAER 101 pairs scientists, fourth-graders in mutual exchange


LG&E/KU Consumer Advisory Panel Tours UK CAER

clock March 12, 2014 09:45 by author Alice
A group from the LG&E/KU Consumer Advisory Panel toured UK CAER labs in order to view the work conducted that positively influences the future success of the electric utilities industry. Stops included CO2 Capture Process; Algae/biofuels CO2 capture project; battery storage/energy; solar research; carbon and coal combustion by-products materials research, as well as catalysis synthetic gas process research.

 



CAER Connects with Children at UK's Engineering Day

clock February 26, 2014 17:01 by author Alice

 

CAER was one of many exhibitor participants at the 2014 University of Kentucky's Engineering Day event held on the UK Campus on February 22nd.

 

Jack Groppo, a long-time CAER engineer, interacted with a lot of youngsters, even high school students hailing all the way from Harlan, Kentucky. The CAER and the UK Energy Club teamed together to use a bicycle to demonstrate energy conservation. Each child could ride the bike and see how much work it took to light up different types of light bulbs.

 

The CAER supports STEM educational outreach in many ways, including the CAER101 project - a "scientists in the classroom" approach using hands-on demos that support 4th grade curriculum.


UK CAER Hosts Workshop for Targeting Ideas to Foundations

clock February 18, 2014 17:46 by author Alice

The UK Office of Proposal Development prepared a workshop for CAER scientists regarding how to locate funding opportunities.

 

Using the SPIN Database to Find Funding Opportunities - This session provided information about the Sponsored Projects Information Network (SPIN) funding database, UK’s primary tool for detailed funding searches of both federal and private agencies. Participants will be introduced to the features of SPIN and will learn how to conduct their own advanced funding searches.

 

Targeting ideas to Foundations - This talk described the types of foundations that might be good targets for CAER research and how they differ from federal agencies.  We will identify some strategies for finding appropriate foundations and talk about the elements in a letter of inquiry, a common first step in approaching foundations.



Podcast of Dr. Wesley Burnett - CAER Seminar Speaker

clock February 17, 2014 18:54 by author Alice

The University of Kentucky's Center for Applied Energy Research has published another podcast for individuals interested in energy issues. It explored the topic of Sustainable Energy Development: An economic perspective by Dr. Wesley Burnett from the University of West Virginia, USA.

- Podcast and PPT File

Economics is a social science concerned with the allocation of scarce resources for satisfying unlimited wants. Given the exhaustibility of fossil fuels and concerns over global climate change, economic science provides an approach to better understand energy markets. The burning of fossil fuels result in economic and environmental consequences that are not always reflected in the prices of the resources. These “hidden costs” or externalities result in market failure, as the market fails to generate the efficient level of pollution control. In the case of stock pollutants, externalities can be particularly severe, arguably resulting in costs to future generations. Government intervention is often necessary in the presence of market failure.

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is an economic tool used to evaluate the equivalent value of benefits and costs of a particular project for a community. CBA is useful to establish whether such a project is worthwhile.

In this discussion, I shall address basic economic concepts including energy economics as a science, externalities, market failure, property rights, and cost-benefit analysis. The purpose of the discussion is to educate non-economist about these basic economic principles in attempt to bridge the gap between science and engineering.



UK College of Design Senior Project at UK CAER

clock February 17, 2014 17:25 by author Alice
UK CAER is working with a UK College of Design student to create educational stations for use at various research site locations through the CAER campus. Jessica Neiser, a UK CoD interiors student, will be conducting her senior thesis project by designing a "system" that can be followed to develop these potential educational materials or "stops" throughout the center.


UK CAER Begins Work on the Local Government Energy Retrofit Program

clock February 17, 2014 17:21 by author Alice

The UK CAER recently received a Local Government Energy Retrofit Program grant. The scope is to work with local governments around the state to help them through the process of contracting with Energy Service Contractors to improve the efficiency of their facilities. Greg Copley is the contact person for this service.



Centre College Freshman Students Tour UK CAER

clock January 29, 2014 09:24 by author Alice

A group of Centre College freshman and their professor, Marie Nydam, recently toured the UK Center laboratories. Their course is on the effects of coal mining and the students are always interested in solutions to the environmental and economic problems they see as they tour Eastern Kentucky. Ms. Nydam felt that CAER would be a great place to visit to see research being completed so that it may become the basis of future solutions.

The students toured the coal combustion research lab; saw a briqetting demo; heard details about coal mine fires; talked with researchers about CO2 capture; learned a great deal about biofuels potential; heard a discussion about energy storage options and toured the CAER's energy efficient laboratory.



Tribute to Marybeth McAlister, Long-time CAER Employee

clock January 24, 2014 11:01 by author Alice
  Marybeth McAlister, longtime Communications Manager at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER), died of complications of influenza and pneumonia on January 8, 2014, at the UK Medical Center. She was 53.

 

In December 2012, Marybeth had a cord blood stem cell transplant at Vanderbilt University Medical Center to counter her chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Within six months she was cancer free.

 

Darrell Taulbee, Industrial Support Coordinator/Senior Scientist at CAER and one of Marybeth's close friends, said, "There are so many superlatives that describe Marybeth. If I were forced to choose just one ...Read the full Tribute


Great Graphic Showing Forecasting of Natural Gas Prices

clock December 19, 2013 11:22 by author Marybeth McAlister

Forecasting #naturalgas prices has been notoriously difficult to do. @EIAgov #AEO2014 #natgas #energy #Kentucky pic.twitter.com/MQuPq1IMCA



Acclaimed Energy Documentary to be Shown at Student Center

clock November 17, 2013 20:04 by author Marybeth McAlister

Every energy resource — fossil, nuclear and renewable — is undergoing profound changes. This sweeping transition is the subject of Switch, an acclaimed new documentary where Dr. Scott Tinker travels the world, exploring leading energy sites from coal to solar, oil to biofuels, most of them highly restricted and never before seen on film. But rather than advocate for how it should happen,Switch travels the world to discover how it most likely will happen.

It will be shown at the UK student center’s Worsham Theatre on November 20th at 5:00 pm. Tickets are free. For more on the documentary, go to: http://www.switchenergyproject.com/about/the-film orhttp://uknow.uky.edu/content/switch-documentary-exploring-our-energy-future