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General CAER News

  • Semi-annual portfolio reviews were held in January and February. The purpose for these meetings is to communicate research efforts between groups in hopes of creating crosscutting project collaborations.
  • By request of the DOE, Ari participated in a two-day audit of a novel gasification technology which is being considered for continued development funding by the DOE.
  • The Coal Fuel Alliance (CFA) technical activities proceeded as planned except that the anticipated report of the Secretary of Energy to Congress, which was due at the beginning of February, has not been presented. The funding for the CFA was not included in the President's budget for Fossil Energy. The CFA members will pursue the political route to fund this program which was authorized in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Testimony (written) will also be provided to the Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate. In the meantime a total of $400,000 has been provided or promised by the respective state governments to fund CFA activities during this calendar year in anticipation of further federal appropriations for FY07. Considerable work went into writing a document regarding the Coal Fuel Alliance project. This document was submitted to the representatives of the three universities who are dealing with the federal relations. The document was also presented to a number of staffers in Washington DC.
  • A formal response to the CAER Unit Review of 2005 has been submitted to the Executive Vice President for Research. In essence, the CAER agrees with the recommendations that were made by the review panel and has started with implementing appropriate steps. The next step in the strategic planning for CAER is to select an outside consulting agency to assist with an objective strategic planning process.

Educational Outreach

  • Dr. Jim Funk, who helped start the energy center and was the first director, gave a seminar on hydrogen and reminisced with long-time employees.

Outside Interactions

  • On January 30th Jim Hower chaired the meeting of the 2007 World of Coal Ash Technical Program Committee while at the winter meeting of the American Coal Ash Association.
  • Several meetings were attended in Frankfort to determine a Kentucky strategy in response to the Request for Proposals for the federal FutureGen project which is due to be issued in March. The draft solicitation for this project was issued with a very short comment period, and Kentucky responded by submitting comments.

Staff Accolades

  • Ari has been asked to serve on the Advisory Panel to the Purdue Center for Coal Technology Research (CCTR) and attended a meeting in Indianapolis. This panel advises on, and reviews requests submitted for funding coal related research work supported by the Indiana government.

Proposals and Awards

  • CAER researchers were notified that they have been funded on a project called "Production of Biomass Briquettes as an Alternative Fuel Source" for $170K. Dr. Mike Montrose from the UK Dept. of Biological and Agricultural Engineering is the PI on the project and the CAER's Darrell Taulbee and Rodney Andrews are the Co-PIs.
  • A proposal was submitted to the KY Office of Energy Policy Energy R&D Program by Jack Groppo and Rick Honaker of the Mining Dept. The title is "Economical Recovery of Fly Ash Derived Magnetics and Evaluation for Coal Cleaning."

UK Interactions

  • In conjunction with Dr. Kamyar Mahboub of the Department of Civil Engineering, CAER researchers met with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet in Frankfort to discuss ways to improve the quality and durability of KYTC's high performance concrete mixtures used to build bridge decks. The KYTC has subsequently requested that UK/CAER submit a proposal to research new materials and methods to improve high performance concrete.
  • Jim Hower is organizing the graduate level coal geology class in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences at UK.
  • Tom Robl and Jack Groppo gave a presentation on the UK Commonwealth Collaborative Project to UK Executive Vice President, Dr. Wendy Baldwin and staff on Feb. 14, 2006.
  • Rodney Andrews presented on CAER's nanotechnology programs to Commissioner Debra Clayton on Feb 9th at the UK Engineering Bldg.