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CONSOL Energy sponsored research work at the CAER by two undergraduate students this summer. The students' investigations were in the fields of petrography and mine mapping, working with Jim Hower and John Hiett, respectively. Both students were positive additions to the CAER's undergraduate experiential learning program. The purpose of the program is to give undergraduates a taste of energy issues and the research process.

According to CONSOL's Frank Burke, vice president of research and development, "CONSOL recognizes the unique opportunity that the CAER provides to undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky to become involved in energy research and to gain a valuable perspective on energy issues in Kentucky. To support this, we offered a grant to CAER to fund summer research by an undergraduate student. CAER proposed to match our contribution to extend the opportunity to two students." The only criteria are that the student be a Kentucky resident and conduct coal related research.

The results of this summer are described below. The CAER is proud of its interactions with industry and our outreach program for students. This endeavor has proven to serve as the best of both worlds.

Goe Sakulpitakphon
Tanaporn "Goe" Sakulpitakphon

Tanaporn "Goe" Sakulpitakphon, a junior in UK's Geological Science Department, worked on a project involving sampling at East Kentucky Power's (EKP's) Cooper plant in Somerset, Kentucky. In addition to the cleaned contract coal burned at Cooper, EKP supports small operators by purchasing run-of-mine coal from small mines. The Horse Creek coal they purchase from Clay County has 0.35% chlorine and 0.6 ppm mercury. The mercury is considerably above the average for US coals. We would anticipate that other chalcophile elements may also be high in the coal. EKP ran the Horse Creek coal on May 20th at Cooper, allowing us to sample the coal and fly ash. We also made a sampling trip to a Horse Creek mine in the vicinity of Manchester, Clay County. The new samples were added to existing samples from the area in order to assemble a regional picture of the trace element variation. Expanded analysis is necessary for the older samples since mercury, arsenic, lead, and some other elements were not among the elements analyzed. Goe assisted in all aspects of the analysis at the CAER and also visited EKP and used their mercury analyzer. EKP was enthusiastic about helping us with this study. This proved to be an interesting and timely investigation since mercury is an element of interest in the utility industry.

Pulverized coal, fly ash, and coal from the mine were all extensively analyzed. Hg analysis was performed at EKP. Further analysis of the Hg sites within the coal sulfides may be performed at another university in the near future. Petrographic and chemical analyses were performed at the CAER. Not all of the latter analyses have been completed. Preliminary results show that Hg is concentrated in the thin, high-sulfur upper lithotype of the coal bed. Similar results were seen in the expanded analysis of previously-collected coals. The Hg content of the fly ash is dependent upon the flue gas temperature at the point of collection, the amount of carbon in the fly ash, and the type of carbon in the fly ash.

Christian Wallover
Christian Wallover

The Mine Map Program of the UK Center for Applied Energy Research was fortunate to have Christian Wallover as an employee for the summer of 1999. Christian is ending his fourth year at UK majoring in Geology. He was originally from Louisville, Kentucky and holds a GPA of 3.2 in his field. With strength in geology, Christian was a real asset to the Mine Map Program.

Christian performed a wide range of tasks regarding Kentucky's coal mine maps. Those tasks included identifying maps from various sources that belong in the archives, mine map location, determination of geologic conditions (mines above and below), and error correction. Other duties included utilizing the databases that index the maps and work with the Geographic Information Systems, computer mapping, filming and digital imagery.

By the end of the summer Christian had been exposed to every facet of the operations of the Mine Map Repository. He now has a working understanding of Kentucky's coal mine maps, applied geology, computer mapping systems and the regulations regarding Kentucky coal mines.