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.

Davis, Jacobs Present on Fischer-Tropsch in Norway

clock June 22, 2016 14:31 by author Thomas

Two members of the UK Center for Applied Energy Research’s Clean Fuels and Chemical Group were invited to present their research at the Natural Gas Conversion Symposium 11 in Tromso, Norway from June 5-9. 

Burt Davis, Associate Director, provided an oral presentation and presented a research poster on the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis process.

Gary Jacobs, a Principal Research Engineer at the Center, provided a plenary lecture and presented a research poster as well. In addition, Dr. Jacobs was nominated to serve on the Natural Gas Conversion Board. 



Power Plant Emissions and Mine Reclamation Topics Covered by CCGP Journal

clock June 2, 2016 16:10 by author Alice


Two new papers have just been published on the Coal Combustion and Gasification Products journal:

- Influence of Coal-Fired Power Plant Emissions Regulations and Consequent Engineering Controls and Coal-Supply Modifications on Fly Ash Chemistry and Petrology: Examples from Kentucky Power Plants - Authors: Madison M. Hood, John G. Groppo, Michelle N. Johnston, James C. Hower, Herek L. Clack, Diego S. de Medeiros, Silvio R. Taffarel, Cesar M.N.L. Cutruneo, Luis F.O. Silva (pp8-18)

- Analysis of Scientific Investigations Related to Reclamation of Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act Permitted Coal Mines with Coal Combustion By-Products - Authors: Kimery C. Vories (pp19-29)

These papers can be read at the CCGP journal Web Address: http://www.coalcgp-journal.org.


Center Helps Train Kentucky Science Teachers

clock June 2, 2016 12:29 by author Thomas

It may be summer but school is most certainly in session at UK CAER. But in this classroom, it is the teachers that are the pupils.

UK CAER researchers are taking part in a Kentucky Council for Post-secondary Education (CPE)-funded program to train science and mathematics teachers how to teach energy in the classroom. The program, Energy is Elementary, is a partnership between the UK College of Education and CAER, and is taking place at the Center from June 1-3.  This grant has afforded the Center the opportunity, to expand the current CAER 101 program to a total of 11 schools. The CAER 101 program gives our researchers the opportunity to be present in the classroom and inspire 4th grade students to become scientists while having fun and learning the basics of energy.



Winburn Problem Solvers Team Visits CAER

clock May 25, 2016 08:44 by author Thomas

Students from Winburn Middle School's Future Problem Solvers team spent some time at UK's Center for Applied Energy Research on May 17 to help prepare for an international competition. The students spent time with representatives from CAER, DEDI and the Association of MISO States to learn about the future of the energy industry.

 

 

The students are training for a problem solving competition that will take place June 1-5 at Michigan State University. The contest will feature a question about energy and the students came to CAER to learn as much as they can about that topic.

"We tried to provide as much useful information about energy as we could," said Shiela Medina, Assistant Director of Policy and Engagement for the Center. "It was a pleasure to host such a bright and inquisitive group of students. I can't wait to see how they do at their competition."



UKCAER Graduate Student Presents at MACE Spring Symposium

clock May 24, 2016 14:59 by author Alice
Nicholas W. Linck, graduate student working in the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research's Materials research group, recently presented a poster at the MACE 2016 Spring Symposium. MACE is the UK Materials and Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Association located on the University of Kentucky campus.


Spring 2016 Tours at the UKCAER

clock May 24, 2016 14:06 by author Alice

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research has hosted two recent tours - a group from the Kentucky Geological Survey and a group from the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers organization. Both groups had to dodge a few raindrops but came away from the tour with more insight into the scientific energy research conducted at CAER.

Some of the stops included:

  • Algae Greenhouse (CO2 capture with algae) and Biofuels (fuels, chemicals and other products created from harvested algae)
  • Minerals Processing (utilization of coal ash by-products used to produce UKCAER/Minova's Tekecrete products, use in concrete and other building materials)
  • Carbon Materials processing (creation of carbon fibers used in the automotive and airline industries)
  • Electrochemical Power Sources (creation and/or testing of batteries used in autos, retail products, etc.)
  • Coal/Biomass-to-Liquids Pilot Facility (gasification of CBTL to synthetic fuels)
  • Solar/Organic Materials (creation of new, advanced thin-film technologies from organic compounds).


Tekcrete Receives UK CAER’s First Russian Patent

clock May 5, 2016 13:49 by author Dave Melanson

 

Tekcrete Fast, the rapid-strength, high-bonding shotcrete material created by UK Center for Applied Energy Research and its corporate partner Minova USA, Inc., is the first UK CAER-created product to receive a Russian patent.

Tekcrete was created by UK CAER and Minova as a high-end, low-energy concrete alternative. It has been primarily used for infrastructure repair and stabilization but is drawing interest from many other markets. The Russian patent is the third for Tekcrete, which already holds patents in the United States and Australia. 

Watch a video about the project here.



UK CAER Receives $2.4M Grant for US-China Clean Energy Research Center

clock May 5, 2016 09:39 by author Dave Melanson

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected UK's Center for Applied Energy Research for a five-year renewal of its United States-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) grant. CERC was created in 2009 by DOE, the China Ministry of Science and Technology and the China National Energy Administration to facilitate joint research and development on clean energy by teams of scientists and engineers from the US and China. Read more here.



Mark Crocker Quoted in ACS

clock April 27, 2016 14:13 by author Dave Melanson

UK CAER's Mark Crocker was quoted in a recent American Chemical Society (ACS) Central Science article entitled, "As the Volkswagen scandal showed, building fuel-efficient, low-emitting vehicles is no easy task." You can read the entire article here.



UK CAER Student Presents at NSBE Annual Convention

clock April 18, 2016 16:29 by author Alice
Courtney McKelphin, and undergraduate chemical engineering major at the University of Kentucky, working at the Center for Applied Energy Research in the Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis lab, presented her research at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Annual Convention in Boston, MA on March 25, 2016.

Courtney currently serves as UK's Chapter Vice President of NSBE and has been a member for two years. Her presentation focused on establishing key kinetic parameters of the catalytic decarboxylation/decarbonylation of triglycerides to fuels.



UK CAER, Sayre Co-Host Energy Fair

clock April 13, 2016 15:50 by author Alice
Exploding balloons. A solar car. A virtual reality sandbox. Sounds like a day at the museum, doesn’t it?

The reality: It was the annual University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER) Energy Fair on Monday, April 11. Sayre School hosted the event at its C.V. Whitney Gymnasium, which featured more than 330 students from Cassidy, Russell Cave, Sayre and Yates Elementary Schools participating.

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.

In addition to CAER, presenters included the UK Chapter of the Society of Mining Engineers, Bluegrass GreenSource, UK’s Solar Decathlon team, Sayre Middle School Green Team, and the Kentucky Division of Air Quality, among others.



Environmental Class Tour of UK CAER

clock April 8, 2016 08:51 by author Alice

An environmental lab class under the direction of Dr. David Fraley of Georgetown College toured the University of Kentucky Lab 2, Carbon Spinline and Algae Greenhouse.



UK CAER Takes Safety Seriously

clock April 7, 2016 09:24 by author Alice

A group of University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research scientists, engineers and support staff participated in a First Aid, CPR and AED training class. Ruthann Chaplin, an instructor with the National Safety Council, took the participants through many situations and scenarios, teaching ways to identify and assist in fostering a positive outcome. The class learned about various first responder topics and how to relate them to day to day situations either happened upon, simple accidents, or those events that are life threatening.

According to organizer and instructor Ruthann Chaplin, UK CAER Safety Officer “Having the knowledge and knowing how to react in situations, can mean the difference between life and death for someone in need”.



Video Showcases UK CAER STEM Pipeline Efforts

clock April 4, 2016 15:58 by author Dave Melanson

Much has been reported about the lack of students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pipeline across Kentucky and the nation.

Changing those statistics has been an on-going national challenge – a challenge in which UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) has taken a leadership role.

The following video showcases how the UK CAER 101 program is helping to inspire the next generation of scientists at Yates, Cassidy and Russell Cave Elementary Schools here in Fayette County.

Helping to inspire those elementary students are current UK student participants in UK’s Broadening Participation in Engineering program, which is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. UK’s BPE program is a collaboration between UK CAER and UK’s College of Engineering and seeks to inspire traditionally under-represented students to pursue leadership opportunities in STEM fields.

“Mentoring opportunities are available to incoming African American, Hispanic or Native American engineering students at both the undergraduate and graduate level,” said Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez, a research scientist at UK CAER, and Director of the BPE Mentoring program. “The BPE program has really allowed UK to engage in a unique mentoring opportunity for UK scientists. It also has allowed our students an opportunity to help build a pipeline of STEM learners in our community.”

UK Now Story.



UK CAER High School Students Wins Prestigious Army Award at Ky State Science Fair

clock April 1, 2016 13:26 by author Alice
Ashley Liu, a student from the Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, won the prestigious Army Award at the Kentucky State Science Fair, March 2016. The research project was based upon her studies on water treatment technology completed at the Center for Applied Energy Research's Power Generation research group. The center is located at the University of Kentucky.



Ashley Liu presented a poster at the Kentucky State Science Fair 2016 at the Eastern Kentucky University.


UK CAER's Tekecrete Featured at First Defense Expo

clock April 1, 2016 12:55 by author Alice

A new technology developed at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research and Minova's North American headquarters in Georgetown, Kentucky was exhibited at the FDX 2016 First Defense Expo in Louisville in mid-March 2016. CAER and Minova scientists reached out to the first responder community by discussing Tekcrete Fast. This product/process allows a fiber-reinforced, high-strength, ultra-rapid setting concrete to be applied for almost immediate stabilization of damaged buildings and other damaged concrete infrastructure. The process can be sent into the location immediately and be used at a safe distance.

The Tekcrete Fast technology used the construction technique called shotcrete and is applied at high velocity that also facilitates adherence to various construction surfaces. A slightly different formulation, Tekcrete Fast M, is used in underground applications to almost instantly stabilize dangerous mining conditions, contributing to mine safety.

The research and joint patent leading to the Minova license came about when UK CAER partnered with Minova on a project for the National Institute of Hometown Security (NIHS), located in Somerset, Kentucky.



Ohio Valley Organic Petrographers Meeting

clock April 1, 2016 11:20 by author Alice


Organic petrographers from the Ohio Valley area representing various universities met on March 31, 2016 at the Kentucky Geological Survey in Henderson, Kentucky.

Dr. Jim Hower of the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (center, back row) participated in the meeting to discuss various organic petrology of coals and carbonaceous shales topics.


UK CAER Reaches Out to Math "Athletes"

clock April 1, 2016 10:52 by author Alice

 

Biofuels is the name of the game! Three University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research staffers - Scientist, Dr. Jack Groppo; Engineer, Ms. Shiela Medina; and Ms. Alice Marksberry - participated in the UK hosted 2016 MathCounts competition. On a Friday night in March, nearly 200 Mathcounts winners from middle schools in counties throughout the Commonwealth participated in fun science experiments with UK faculty, staff and students.

 

The UK CAER hosted an educational stop that featured the Biofuels Game - a board game created by CAER scientist Dr. Eduardo Santillian-Jimenez. The game reflects decisions made by the students that must compare and contrast the pathway of creating a gasoline/diesel product from either crude petroleum or biomass. Students must consider how to create the end product via economical and environmentally sound decision-making processes.

 

Mathcounts is a national enrichment, coaching and competition program that promotes middle school math achievement through grassroots involvement.


Center Collaborates with UK Mining Engineering on Rare Earth Elements Research

clock March 15, 2016 08:56 by author David Melanson

University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research scientists Jack Groppo and Jim Hower are collaborating with Rick Honaker, professor and chair of the UK Department of Mining Engineering, to develop a mobile pilot-plant facility for the recovery of rare earth elements from coal.

The research team received $1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory. The team includes collaborators at Virginia Tech and West Virginia University and will develop and test a mobile processing facility that can efficiently recover the rare earth elements present in coal and coal byproducts in an environmentally friendly manner.

"Previous research conducted by UK scientists and others have found that the critical materials needed for renewable energy technologies, such as cell phones and other electronics, are found in coal and coal byproducts at concentrations that may be economical to recover," Dr. Honaker said.

Rare earth elements, or REEs, are a series of chemical elements found in the Earth’s crust. Due to their unique chemical properties, REEs have become essential components of many technologies spanning a range of applications including electronics, computer and communication systems, transportation, health care and national defense. The demand, cost and availability of REEs has grown significantly over recent years stimulating an emphasis on economically feasible approaches for REE recovery.

The U.S. has 10.9 million tons of rare earth resources in coal deposits located in just five western and four eastern states, including Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia, according to the U.S. Geological Survey Coal Quality Database.

"If advanced separation technologies become available, the resource base will increase substantially," Dr. Honaker said.

With those technologies, the coal industry could potentially produce approximately 40,000 tons of REEs annually, which is more than twice the amount consumed in the U.S.

As Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (KY-05) supported funding for REE recovery projects in the federal budget for fiscal year 2016.

“Our coal-producing states are working diligently to recover from the devastating loss of coal mining jobs in today’s economy. In fact, Kentucky alone has suffered the loss of nearly 11,000 coal mining jobs since 2009. Experimental projects, like UK’s mobile REE recovery plant, could save and create new coal-related jobs and opportunities in eastern Kentucky,” said Congressman Rogers. “I applaud Professor Honaker and the vision of UK’s leaders to find new applications for coal and coal byproducts for the development of everyday technologies, such as smart phones, computers and rechargeable batteries. This effort to find more uses for our country’s most plentiful resource could put many people back to work in the coalfields.”

This project is one of only 10 projects awarded and is the only one that is focused on physical concentration methods as a means for recovering REE directly from the coal sources rather than from a coal combustion byproduct. UK CAER received funding on three of 10 NETL projects.



Catalyst Group Publishes Book

clock March 11, 2016 12:59 by author David Melanson

World-renowned UK Center for Applied Energy Research Fischer-Tropsch catalysis research – led by CAER’s Burt Davis – has been published in a new book entitled “Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis, Catalysts, and Catalysis: Advances and Applications.” The book is now available for sale by CRC Press.

The book is a collection of proceedings and some invited papers from the International Symposium on Fischer-Tropsch Chemistry and Catalysis, which was held as part of the 248th American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting & Exposition. That meeting was held in August 2014 in San Francisco.

Dr. Davis, an international leader in Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, and direct coal liquefaction at CAER, served as one of the book’s editors, along with colleague Mario L. Occelli.

In addition to Dr. Davis’ contributions to this book, many other staff members and former staff of the Center’s Catalysts Laboratory were published including: Muthu Kumaran Gnanamani, Uschi M. Graham, Shelley D. Hopps, Gary Jacobs, Wenping Ma, Patricia M. Patterson, Venkat Ramana Rao Pendyala, Wilson D. Shafer, Dennis E. Sparks, and Gerald A. Thomas.  Moreover, the book highlights the work of many UK CAER students and former students, including Adam C. Crawford, Victor Gloriot, Nicolas A. Hughes, Michela Martinelli, Maria A. Morales, Chase P. Moran, Jean-Samuel Poirier, Damarcus D. Smiley, and Sarah S. Suggs.

Collaborations with UK CAER included Gabriela Alvez (Chevron-Phillips Chemical Co. LP), Dragomir B. Bukur (Texas A&M University at Qatar), Hussein H. Hamdeh (Wichita State University Department of Physics), Xianghong Hao (Chevron-Phillips Chemical Co. LP), Yongfeng Hu (Canadian Light Source, Inc.), Syed Khalid (National Synchrotron Light Source, Brookhaven National Laboratory), Luca Lietti (Polytechnic University of Milan), Aimee Maclennan (Canadian Light Source, Inc.), Jack Selegue (University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry), Ryan Snell (Chevron-Phillips Chemical Co. LP), Branislav Todic (Texas A&M University at Qatar), and Carlo G. Visconti (Polytechnic University of Milan).

The book can be purchased at the following website: https://www.crcpress.com/Fischer-Tropsch-Synthesis-Catalysts-and-Catalysis-Advances-and-Applications/Davis-Occelli/9781466555297.