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 and MIT Researchers Study Large-scale Energy Storage Battery

clock July 21, 2017 11:03 by author Thomas

A team of scientists at the University of Kentucky and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been awarded a $200,000 National Science Foundation grant to develop a prototype of a battery utilizing chemical components prepared at UK.

UK chemistry professors Susan Odom and John Anthony -- who both have appointments at the Center for Applied Energy Research -- synthesized new organic compounds as donors and acceptors for a type of battery called a redox flow battery (RFB), currently of great interest for large-scale energy storage. In collaboration with James Landon (UK CAER) and Fikile Brushett (MIT), the team will investigate the operation of the new materials in a prototype.

 

This PFI: AIR-TT (Partnerships for Innovation: Accelerating Innovation Research-Technology Translation) project focuses on incorporating high concentration organic electrolytes for redox flow batteries (RFBs) into functional, high-voltage, stationary batteries. RFB have advantages for electrical grid-scale energy storage options, including peak leveling and frequency regulation, which would reduce overall energy consumption when linked with an electrical grid. RFBs are inherently well-suited for large applications such as these because they scale more cost effectively (power and energy capacities are decoupled) than most battery technologies.

This project investigates nonaqueous RFBs containing organic electro-active species. This proposed type of RFB has the following unique features relative to other RFB designs: higher operating voltages, noncorrosive electrolytes, smaller size, and use of scalable organic active materials (more environmentally friendly and potentially lower cost). The potential customer benefit would stem from more affordable options for stationary energy storage, enabling a greater reliance on renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, and improving energy efficiency of the electric grid, which together can reduce the anthropogenic generation of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion.

Under this project, a prototype full-cell RFB with high concentrations of promising organic electro-active materials will be built and tested. To date, the lack of a demonstration of a high-concentration full cell has prevented an analysis of the performance and identification of the potential advantages and limitations of electro-active organic compounds. Moreover, performance-limiting factors associated with cell design or component failure are difficult to distinguish for active material decay. Full cell testing, at near practical conditions, is required to complete a thorough performance assessment.

The project engages United Technologies Research Center to provide additional testing assessments and to guide commercialization aspects in this technology translation effort from research discovery toward commercial reality.

For more information, visit www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1701085&HistoricalAwards.



UK Undergraduate Research Program Opens Door to International Opportunity

clock July 12, 2017 08:15 by author Thomas

Sarah Hodges had never stepped foot into a research laboratory until she began her educational career at the University of Kentucky. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Hodges enrolled at UK in the fall of 2015 to pursue a degree in chemical engineering.

 

Once at UK, Hodges took part in the Broadening Participation in Engineering (BPE) program, a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded program led by Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez from the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER).

Hodges became interested in some of the research taking place in UK CAER's Materials Technologies Group and was paired with mentor Tristana Duvallet. She embarked on a research project with that group during the summer of 2016, and she received a competitive award for the project by UK's Office of Undergraduate Research.

That BPE program, Hodges said, changed her educational pathway, swinging open wide a world of opportunity that has led her to France this summer to pursue her burgeoning research career.

In 2016, Dr. Santillan-Jimenez encouraged Hodges to apply for the Kentucky-West Virginia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (KY-WV LSAMP) program. Participation in the KY-WV LSAMP program led her to being nominated for an international Research Experience for Undergraduates. This award will allow Hodges to study alongside Professors Gerard Mortha and Capucine Dupont at the University of Grenoble in France this summer to perform research on the thermal degradation of cellulose, which is of interest to applications related to the production of energy, fuels and chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass.

 

As part of the program, Hodges will also attend ELITECAT 2017, a summer school of catalysis held in Lyon, France, which is home to one of the most prestigious centers for catalysis studies in Europe and the world.

"The opportunities that have been made available to me through undergraduate research here at UK CAER have been life-changing," said Hodges. "Traveling to France and learning the French culture through research is something I could never have dreamed of. I thank everyone at UK and CAER who have helped me along the way."



UK Mining Engineering, CAER Receive DOE Funding for Rare Earth Element Research

clock June 27, 2017 15:13 by author Thomas

The University of Kentucky has received two of three U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grants for its promising work in the emerging field of rare earth element (REE) research.

DOE's Office of Fossil Energy recently announced that the three projects have been selected to receive approximately $3 million for research aimed at producing salable rare earth elements from domestic coal and coal by-products. UK's Department of Mining Engineering is a partner on one of those projects while UK's Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) is a partner on another project.

 

 

 

REEs are a series of 17 chemical elements found in the Earth's crust. Due to their unique chemical properties, REEs are essential components of technologies spanning a range of applications, including electronics, computer and communication systems, transportation, health care and national defense. The demand for REEs has grown significantly in recent years, stimulating an interest in economically feasible approaches for domestic REE recovery.

Rick Honaker, chair of UK's Department of Mining Engineering, will oversee a project which will involve conducting laboratory testing and preparing their technical design for a pilot plant to produce salable REEs. They will use by-products from an existing West Virginia coal preparation (coal washing) plant as their raw material for extracting REEs. Their phase 1 design includes recovery and sale of dry, fine, high-quality coal from this raw material as an additional source of revenue.

"Coal and coal by-products have the potential to be the source of a critical national need in the supply of rare earth elements including those that have been identified as strategically important by the U.S. Department of Defence. Researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) were the first to recognize this fact and, with strong congressional support led by Congressman Hal Rogers, have developed a research and development program to expedite the commercialization of this opportunity," Honaker said. "We are grateful that NETL has selected our team to be one of three to initiate the development of a small, commercial production facility to produce rare earth element concentrates from coal and coal products. If successful, rare earth production facilities in the coalfields could significantly reduce the reliance on imports where nearly 100 percent of the critical materials are obtained, while also positively impacting job creation and the financial stability of mining companies."

Jim Hower, a principal research scientist at UK CAER and a research professor in UK's Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, will oversee the second project, which will utilize by-products from an eastern Kentucky coal preparation plant as their source of REEs. Their phase 1 design will consider recovery and sale of coal from these preparation plant by-products as an additional source of revenue.

"Our rare earth element recovery research is a natural extension of the center's efforts in creating high-value products from coal and coal combustion by-products," Hower said. "We look forward to bringing this knowledge to bear, and the potential for creating new jobs and economic opportunities in Kentucky and across the United States. We are most grateful to DOE for this support, and thankful to Congressman Hal Rogers for his continued leadership in support of UK CAER's coal by-product utilization research and development."

These REE projects speak to the unique and long-standing collaboration between UK Mining Engineering and UK CAER. Jack Groppo, a principal research engineer at CAER and faculty member in UK Mining Engineering, will also provide expertise in physical separation processing and plant design on Honaker's project.

 

 

"The University of Kentucky is engaged in answering Kentucky questions that, often, have global implications," said UK President Eli Capilouto. "These grants underscore the leading role UK's Center for Applied Energy Research and Department of Mining Engineering play in our national energy dialogue. UK faculty and staff researchers are recognized pioneers, and their research and discovery plays an integral role in how we improve, utilize, and enhance the capacity of our energy economy. I want to thank Congressman Hal Rogers for his continued support of the University of Kentucky, and his belief in our people's capacity to address those questions most vexing to the state we serve, together."

"I applaud the University of Kentucky for the continued tireless efforts to secure the future of coal and coal by-products across the country," said Congressman Hal Rogers, who supported federal funding for DOE grant opportunities. "Rare earth elements are utilized in ways you may not know about, from computers, to telescopes, to aircraft engines, to specialized glass, and medical equipment. The ongoing innovative research and development at UK CAER and the Department of Mining Engineering will expand upon potential revenue options in the future, providing more opportunities for Kentucky's coal country."

More information about the projects can be found at:
https://energy.gov/articles/doe-announces-69-million-research-rare-earth-elements-coal-and-coal-byproducts

 



UK CAER Receives $1M Grant for Carbon Fiber Research

clock June 23, 2017 11:55 by author Thomas

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER) received a $1 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to continue their leading-edge research in developing low-cost, high-strength carbon fiber.

 

The Center’s Materials Technologies Group received the award for a project entitled “Precursor Processing Development for Low Cost, High Strength Carbon Fiber for Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel Applications.” The funding was part of DOE’s strategy to invest in discovery and development of novel, low-cost materials necessary for hydrogen storage and for fuel cells onboard light-duty vehicles.


 

The team will investigate solutions to critical issues in precursor fiber development that significantly contribute to the cost of carbon fiber, namely high polymer cost, inefficient water use and solvent recovery, low fiber throughput, energy intensive conversion, and high coefficient of variation (CV) utilizing their unique expertise and fiber development facility available at UK CAER. The Center is home to the largest carbon fiber spinline at any University in North America.

 

If successful, the project will lower the cost of high quality carbon fibers by over 50 percent, opening opportunities for widespread application of carbon fibers in previously cost-prohibited areas, specifically in composite overwrapped pressure vessels for hydrogen storage.



 

“We appreciate DOE’s confidence in our carbon fiber research and development efforts here at UK CAER,” said Matt Weisenberger, Associate Director of the Materials Technologies Group. “It is our hope that this project will show great promise for the future of carbon fiber for pressure vessels and many other commercial applications. A strong, vibrant and growing carbon fiber industry shows potential for creating new jobs and economic opportunities in Kentucky.”

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office awarded a total of 30 grants during its annual funding opportunity announcement (FOA) in 2017. The 2017 FOA solicited early-stage materials research to advance the Department’s goals of enabling economic and efficient transportation via fuel cell electric vehicles that use hydrogen fuel produced from diverse domestic resources.

More than 2,000 fuel cell vehicles have been sold or leased in the U.S. since 2015. These consume 95 percent less petroleum per mile than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, have no tailpipe emissions, and offer quiet operation.



UK CAER Student Employee One of UK's Best

clock June 13, 2017 15:52 by author Thomas

Ryan Hines, a student in UK CAER's Power Generation Group, was named one of the University of Kentucky’s top 10 student employees for 2016-17. Ryan operated the large bench CO2 capture unit for the Center. Ryan is a native of Liberty, Kentucky and is a chemical engineering major at UK.



Ryan played a critical role in conducting a performance test on UK CAER’s carbon capture bench demonstration unit, according to his colleagues.

"We conducted a performance test on our CAER-B3 solvent using our new hybrid process in large bench unit for 500 hours," said Brad Irvin, a Research Scientist Associate at UK CAER. "The hybrid process combined a traditional CO2 capture process with a CO2 pre-concentrating membrane, a new solvent blend (CAER-B3), and solid additives. This test took months to complete and we faced many difficult challenges such as maintenance and repair of the system and keeping our data quality top notch, while also meeting the DOE timelines. Ryan was instrumental in the successful completion of this experiment. His willingness to take ownership and go the extra mile kept the experiment on track and producing meaningful data."



UK CAER Researchers Publish Coal Combustion Products Book

clock June 5, 2017 14:18 by author Thomas

 



Members of the UK Center for Applied Energy Research’s Materials Technologies group have published the definitive book on coal combustion byproducts. Entitled “Coal Combustion Products (CCPs): Characteristics, Utilization and Beneficiation,” the book was edited by UK CAER’s Tom Robl and Anne Oberlink as well as their colleague and collaborator, Rod Jones. The book was published by Woodhead Publishing.




KY EPSCoR to Host NSF Grants Conference in Louisville

clock June 2, 2017 15:44 by author Thomas

Kentucky EPSCoR announced today that the National Science Foundation  Grants Conference it is hosting has quickly reached capacity. The conference will take place June 5-6, at the Hyatt Regency in Louisville.

Three hundred and twenty-five conference registrants, including 86 from Kentucky, will spend two days attending presentations and interacting with NSF staff to better understand NSF-funded research opportunities and obligations.  Attendees hope to increase their likelihood of winning research funding, complying with grant requirements and producing impactful research results.

"KY EPSCoR is pleased to be able to host the National Science Foundation in our state," said F. Richard Kurzynske, director of Kentucky’s statewide EPSCoR Program. "The KY EPSCoR Program has been the channel for over $550 million in competitively won research funding which is expanding the Commonwealth’s research infrastructure, promoting STEM-H (science, technology, engineering, mathematics. and health) education and nurturing a culture of innovation. Federal research funding fosters knowledge-based prosperity by expanding the science and engineering capabilities of Kentucky’s workforce."

Agenda items address types of NSF opportunities, proposal preparation, the award management process, financial reporting processes and related topics.

Representatives from 38 states and 144 research institutions, including the University of Kentucky as well as many of the Commonwealth’s public comprehensive universities and technical colleges, will be in attendance.

For more information, visit www.nsfgrantsconferences.com.



UK Eclipse Ballooning Team Conducts Practice Session at UK CAER

clock April 25, 2017 11:40 by author Thomas



A multidisciplinary University of Kentucky College of Engineering student team spent the morning of April 24 at the UK Center for Applied Energy Research preparing for a once in a generation scientific opportunity.

The students are members of the UK Eclipse Ballooning Team and they were conducting a practice launch leading up to this summer’s total solar eclipse on August 21. It will be the first total solar eclipse to cross the Pacific and Atlantic coasts in 99 years and the first to be visible in the southeastern United States since 1970.

The UK Eclipse Ballooning Team is comprised of about 30 UK students. During the eclipse, the student researchers will launch two high-altitude latex balloons equipped to take pictures and record video of this rare event. The UK effort is part of a nationwide scientific effort led by NASA. NASA Space Grant, a program of the NASA Office of Education that develops the U.S. aerospace STEM workforce and aerospace research, is conducting a nationwide cooperative eclipse event with over 50 teams live-streaming video from the edge of space.

Monday’s practice session allowed the team to test systems and procedures that will be used during the eclipse launch. As part of the eclipse launch, the team will fly several payloads – including equipment to livestream video – from an approximate altitude of 80,000-100,000 feet. The UK Eclipse Ballooning Team is supported by NASA Kentucky’s Space Grant Program, which provides aerospace-related experiential learning opportunities at colleges and universities across the state.

The project is guided by faculty coordinator Suzanne Weaver Smith, Donald and Gertrude Lester Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of NASA Kentucky.

“Today was our first double balloon launch in preparation for the eclipse,” said Virginia Smith, Mission Control Team Leader and a UK mechanical engineering student. “While not all of the technology we flew was eclipse ready, this was a fantastic milestone for testing tracking capabilities, video transmission range, and our team's set-up, launch, and recovery operations. I am extremely proud of how our team performed today, especially when the wind was throwing our balloon around, but everyone remained quick on their feet stopping the balloon from hitting the pavement right before launch."



UK CAER scientist Mike Wilson awarded third UK Sustainability Challenge Grant

clock April 24, 2017 09:35 by author Thomas

Michael Wilson has many passions.

There’s his affinity for whitewater kayaking. It doesn’t take too much arm twisting to convince Wilson to head to the mountains for a weekend of camping and riding the currents.

There’s his love for science and discovery. Getting into the laboratory to discover or build something new – that will always be appealing.

 

But it is another of Wilson’s passions that will be keeping him busy in 2017. Wilson received his third consecutive University of Kentucky Sustainability Challenge Grant earlier this year, and the project has him energized.

“This grant is what a major research university should be all about,” said Wilson. “It will allow us to bring in five undergraduate students from a broad range of disciplines to create a novel interdisciplinary research program. It will allow students from various academic interests to pool their skills and know-how to attack a real issue around sustainability. I can’t wait to get started.”

Wilson is in the midst of recruiting students (http://ukjobs.uky.edu/postings/142465) to take part in this unique program. Students will be recruited from a variety of campus programs, including engineering, chemistry, sustainability and design – just to name a few. In addition to being directly involved in the day-to-day execution of research both on campus and at the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER), this cadre of students will be exposed to regular scientific seminars, in-depth lab tours, design thinking/iteration, and professional development opportunities that will include résumé formatting and interview etiquette. 

This project will leverage educational assessment tools that can help evaluate the academic progress of the students as well as evaluating their knowledge of the importance of research, design processes and sustainability. In addition, the research data generated from the project will be utilized to prepare a National Science Foundation (NSF) proposal that will seek to develop a more formal undergraduate research experience at UK CAER.  

The Sustainability Challenge Grant program was created to engage multidisciplinary teams from the University community in the creation and implementation of ideas that will promote sustainability by simultaneously advancing economic vitality, ecological integrity and social equity. In the first three years of the program, 20 projects have been awarded a total of $500,000 to pursue transformational, sustainability-driven projects on our campus and beyond.

Wilson has received funding for sustainability projects each of the first three years. The first two projects involved a collaborative UK team that was designing a sustainable bus shelter with Martin Summers (School of Architecture) that incorporated advanced design concepts, solar-power generation, water collection systems, and energy/sustainability education. 

Wilson also wanted to extend thanks to those who helped and contributed to this effort. 

“A huge debt of gratitude is owed to numerous collaborators, students, and co-workers for contributing to any progress made; and especially Dr. Mark Crocker for his support in this endeavor.”

The new project builds upon Wilson’s past experience in research and undergraduate research mentoring, with the hope of expanding and enhancing a sustainable undergraduate research program at UK.  

“I look forward to learning as much from the students as they will learn from this program,” said Wilson. “To me, that’s the exciting part. Getting a chance to teach and learn alongside these students is why I enjoy doing what I do.”

 

 



NC State Professor presents seminar on carbon nanotubes

clock April 18, 2017 16:01 by author Thomas

Dr. Phillip Bradford, an Associate Professor in the Department of Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science at North Carolina State University, presented a seminar at the UK Center for Applied Energy Research on Tuesday, April 18.

The presentation focused on the work of his research group in their effort to synthesize a special type of carbon nanotube structure called drawable CNT arrays, the production of aligned CNT structures from these CNT arrays and the development of advanced materials with the aligned CNTs as the primary component. Applications of interest include multifunctional composites, electrodes for electrochemical devices, low density foams and filtration. 

 



UK CAER Hosts Annual Energy Fair

clock April 3, 2017 12:03 by author Thomas

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research’s annual Energy Fair experienced massive growth in 2017, serving twice as many students as last year while expanding its reach to two new communities. 

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.

Held on March 28-29 at UK’s Memorial Coliseum, this year’s program served more than 660 fourth-grade students from Fayette County as well as students from schools in Paris and Tollesboro, Kentucky.

"The growth is a testament to our scientists and researchers here at UK CAER and partner organizations who are committed to delivering high-quality, hands-on demonstrations to students," said Shiela Medina, Assistant Director for Policy and Engagement at UK CAER. "To double in size from last year and to provide an opportunity to students outside of Fayette County was terrific. We thank everyone who helped make the Energy Fair a success."


 

 



UKCAER Graduate Student Participates in East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Program

clock March 15, 2017 15:04 by author Thomas

Ryan Loe, a graduate student at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research, recently visited Australia as part of the National Science Foundation's East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Program.

This program, according to the NSF's website works like this: "NSF and selected foreign counterpart science and technology agencies sponsor international research institutes for U.S. graduate students in seven East Asia and Pacific locations."

"It allows you to partner with a research institute for about a three-month period to work... with a researcher of your choice," Ryan explained. "My project in Australia was working with converting plant oils and animal fats into diesel fuel. ... My main goal in Australia was to generate new supports [for catalysts] that are unique and have different morphologies that will hopefully have a positive effect [on that]."

The video below, posted on UK CAER's youtube channel, is Ryan explaining not only how useful the experience was professionally, but also how enriching and enjoyable it was from a cultural standpoint.

Ryan Loe is a native of Columbus, Ohio. He received his Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Muskingum University in Ohio. He is currently a graduate student working in UK CAER’s Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group under his faculty mentor, Mark Crocker. Ryan’s research is focused on converting liquids to a renewable fuel.



Weisenberger Mill featured in Lexington Herald Leader

clock March 7, 2017 10:20 by author Thomas

The Department of Energy-funded partnership between the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research and Weisenberger Mill has been featured in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

 

The story can be found here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/tom-eblen/article136186728.html



Industry, Academic Leaders Appointed to UK CAER Advisory Board

clock March 7, 2017 09:50 by author Thomas

Industry, Academic Leaders Appointed to UK CAER Advisory Board

Twenty-four experts from industry, academia and government have accepted appointments to serve on the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research Advisory Board. The advisory board, which will meet in April 2017, provides counsel and guidance to the Center about emerging trends in energy research and development.

“I thank all of the advisory board members for their willingness to serve,” said Rodney Andrews, Director of the Center. “The depth and breadth of expertise will provide the Center and our research teams with valuable, strategic insight."

Since 1977, UK CAER has served as one of the nation’s premier energy research and development institutes, collaborating with companies and government agencies to help maximize Kentucky’s – and the nation’s – energy resources.

From discovering carbon capture technologies to developing new uses for coal combustion byproducts and working to expand energy and manufacturing options through the development of renewable biofuels, carbon fiber materials, novel energy storage, and solar technology, UK CAER’s scientists and investigators are focused on solving energy problems facing communities across the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the nation and around the world.

  • Robert Addington, Retired, Energy Executive and Entrepreneur
  • Rocky Adkins, Kentucky State Representative
  • Jared Carpenter, Kentucky State Senator
  • Joe Craft, President & CEO, Alliance Resource Partners, L.P.
  • David Drake, UK CAER Advisory Board Chair; Retired, Energy Executive
  • Brian Goodall, Vice President, Valicor Renewables & Valicor Nutraceuticals
  • William Haneberg, Director, Kentucky Geological Survey
  • Greg Higdon, President & CEO, Kentucky Association of Manufacturers
  • Rick Honaker, Chair, UK Department of Mining Engineering
  • George Huber, Harvey D. Spangler Professor       , University of Wisconsin Madison
  • Mark Meier, Chair, UK Department of Chemistry
  • Kevin Mussler, Vice President, CMTA Inc.
  • Michael Portwood, President, Minova-Americas
  • Keith Roberts, Materials & Structures Technology Area Lead, AMRDEC
  • Warren Schimpf, Technical Advisory, Advanced Fiber Technologies, Inc.
  • Sara Smith, President, Smith Management Group
  • Charles G. Snavely, Secretary, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet
  • James J. (Jerry) Spivey, James M. Shivers Professor, Louisiana State University
  • Richard Sturgill, CEO, BPM Lumber, LLC
  • Paul Thompson, President and Chief Operating Officer, LG&E and KU Energy LLC
  • Brad Toon, Senior Management Consultant, Sargent & Lundy
  • Mitzi R. Vernon, Dean and Professor, UK College of Design
  • Robert H. Wombles, Vice President of Global Customer Technical Service, Koppers Inc.
  • John Wright, Executive Vice President, Owensboro Grain Co.

 



UK CAER and KY Energy Cabinet Host Workshop

clock March 3, 2017 16:56 by author Thomas

The Energy and Environment Cabinet (EEC) and the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (UK CAER), in cooperation with the Kentucky Department for Local Government (DLG), are hosting a High Performance Public Facilities Workshop, March 22 in Hazard, Kentucky. The workshop's goal is to educate Kentucky’s city and county government officials save money through reducing energy consumption.

Local government officials and others responsible for managing public facilities are encouraged to attend the workshop to be held at the Hazard Community Technical College. Pre-registration cost is $75 and may be made online at http://www.kyhighperformance.org/. Public officials may earn 6.75 professional development units from DLG for attending. Continuing education credits are also available through the Kentucky League of Cities, UK CAER and the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Kentucky.

“The procurement and upgrade of energy saving technologies for public facilities are often necessary to reduce wasteful spending and budgetary inefficiencies,” said DLG Commissioner Sandra Dunahoo. “Local officials have numerous opportunities to utilize these cost saving advances in technology to not only enrich their communities but practice better fiscal stewardship.”

Experts from public and private sectors and officials from state and local governments will present energy saving strategies. Attendees will learn from their peers, with case studies offering personal accounts about overcoming obstacles and achieving savings through high-performance building strategies.

“The goal of the workshop is to help public officials understand how to save on their utility expenses and put those savings to more important things,” said Lee Colten, Assistant Director, Department for Energy Development and Independence.  “We like to say:  Save money.  Fix stuff.

“Whether it’s a municipal building, a water or waste-water treatment facility, there are a number of energy efficiency strategies that can offer significant savings.  Everyone attending the workshop will leave knowing how to translate energy efficiency strategies into action in the day-to-day operations of their public facilities.”



Secretary Snavely visits CAER

clock February 14, 2017 10:05 by author Thomas

UK CAER hosted Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Charles Snavely on Friday, February 10. It was a pleasure hearing from him and sharing the UK CAER story.


 



Weisenberger, Craddock Receive US Patent

clock February 14, 2017 09:55 by author Thomas

A breakthrough from UK CAER’s Materials Technologies Group has resulted in a U.S. Patent. Matt Weisenberger and John Craddock received the patent award for their project entitled “apparatus and method for harvesting carbon nanotube arrays.” The discovery will allow scientists to create large nanotube arrays that will play an integral role in creating high-value composite materials.




CAER hosts seminar on Textile Electronic System Design

clock February 9, 2017 15:13 by author Thomas

On Thursday, UK CAER hosted Dr. Jesse Jur, an Assistant Professor of Textile Engineering, Chemistry & Science at NC State University's College of Textiles, the global leader in textile education and research. His current research focuses on integration of systems electronics into wearable platforms for energy harvesting and monitoring of a person's environmental and physiological state.

 

 

 

The presentation reviewed activity in the NEXT (Nano-Extended Textiles) research group at NC State, focused on the use of engineering design principles to develop integration and materials strategies of electronics in textiles that are industry relevant now and novel techniques that enable future industry growth. Through the examination of those methods at a system level, an understanding of their impact and relevance can be defined and iterated for improved performance. Of particular interest is the development of sensing systems that harvest energy from the human body. The performance of the textile electronics in relation to complex human scenarios, based on the user’s activity and external environment, are assessed to understand sensing performance and self-powered strategies.



Center Receives ACAA’s Champion Award

clock February 8, 2017 15:19 by author Thomas

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research was recently selected as the fifth recipient of the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA) Champion Award. Established in 2012, the Champion Award recognizes extraordinary contributions to the beneficial use of coal combustion products.

The recipient is selected exclusively by the Chair of the ACAA Board of Directors and is known only to the Chair until the moment the presentation is made. ACAA Chairman Charles Price praised the UK CAER team for its decades of support for beneficial use of coal combustion products.

“Selecting a recipient for the ACAA Champion Award is not easy. Past chairs of this association will agree that when you start to draft a list of potential recipients the list gets very long very quickly,” said Price. “After careful consideration I have selected an organization that has provided decades of research, education, and training. This organization has had a particular focus on practical solutions which impact markets both today and into the future.”



Senior Research Engineer Bob Jewell accepted the award at ACAA’s 2017 winter meeting on behalf of the Center’s Materials Technologies Group.

CAER’s Materials Technologies Group specializes in developing construction materials from a wide variety of CCPs. The Center has also become a valued strategic partner for ACAA, cosponsoring the international World of Coal Ash conference and symposium since 2005 and, more recently, in development of special topic conferences and creation of the Coal Combustion and Gasification Products Journal.



New paper published in the CCGP Journal

clock February 2, 2017 13:33 by author Alice

Effect of Coal Fly Ash Leachate on the Bioluminescence Intensity of Vibrio fischeri

Authors:  Shiro Ikeda, Irena Kostova, Hideaki Sekine, Yoshika Sekine

Coal fly ash is a residue of coal-fired thermoelectric power plants (TPPs) and is mostly dumped in ash ponds or landfill sites, even though it potentially contains significant amounts of water-soluble hazardous contaminants. Bioassay using the bioluminescent bacterium Vibrio fischeri is known to be applicable for assessing the short-term and sublethal toxicity of complex mixtures without the need for precise chemical characterization. However, this type of bioassay is potentially adversely influenced by the pH-induced protein denaturation of cells. Because coal fly ash leachates often have alkaline or acidic properties, when applying the V. fischeri–based bioassay to the samples, we need to know potential effect of the leachates on the bioluminescence of the bacteria. This study accordingly aimed to investigate the feasibility of applying the V. fischeri bioassay to coal fly ash leachate
as a screening method. Fly ash samples were collected from 12 TPPs located in three East European countries: Bulgaria, Greece, and Serbia.

 

The fly ash samples were prepared in sterilized distilled water by ultrasonic extraction and filtration using 0.45-mmΦ membrane filters. The filtrates were then mixed with a solution of the test bacterium. The bioluminescence intensity was measured using a luminometer. The results showed the ostensible influence of pH on bioluminescence intensity pronounced when following the typical protocol using a 5.0‐g/L solid:liquid ratio. Accordingly, the pH of water extracts should be adjusted to within a range of 6 to 9 by dilution to observe the inhibition of bioluminescence by coal fly ash leachate as the objective endpoint.

 

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).