General CAER News
- The NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) kick-off meeting for the creation of the Kentucky-Argonne Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center building was held in February.
- Big Rivers Electric Corporation and the Illinois Clean Coal Institute are the latest members to the Carbon Management Research Group (CMRG). This is a first of its kind government-industrial-academic collaboration aimed at pilot- and slipstream-scale research of carbon management for electric generation. The long term goal is to develop cost-effective technologies for scrubbing CO2 from fossil fuel power plants. The group's founding members are: Duke Energy, E.ON US, East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Kentucky Department of Energy Development and Independence, and Kentucky Power (AEP).
- Twelve reporters from China, Japan, and Germany toured the UK Center for Applied Energy Research to better understand clean coal technologies and other energy research. The visit was part of a larger visit to the Commonwealth organized by the U.S. State Department's Foreign Press Center. On the CAER tour, the journalists interviewed associate directors and senior researchers about carbon dioxide capture, biofuels, coal-combustion byproducts, the coal-to-liquids process, and energy storage devices. The interviews took place in laboratories, where the reporters could see the research being described.
- Late February saw the opening of the Environmental and Coal Technology Group's new Minerals Processing Building. This building will provide the group with significantly more space and allow for larger projects to take place.
- Two video groups videotaped CAER staff this winter. The first was part of a larger state government story on energy endeavors in Kentucky. The CAER portion focused on carbon capture technologies and algae research. The second video was done by UK's Visualization & Virtual Environments group, which is creating a documentary on the impact (both negative and positive) of coal in the state. The goal of the documentary is to examine the significance of coal's history, what it means today and how we will move forward to responsibly mine coal while protecting the health, safety, and welfare of Kentucky's citizens, the environment, and the economy.
- CAER Director, Rodney Andrews attended the KGS Advisory Board Meeting in January.
- The University of Kentucky's "UKNOW" News highlighted the CAER's Environmental and Coal Technologies Research Group in a recent article. "UK Team Studies Fly Ash in Fast-drying, Hard Cement."
- Lieutenant Governor Daniel Mongiardo toured the center in January with staffers.
The New Year brought with it several visitors from international academic institutions:
- Anthoula Ouzounidou, (above) a visiting scientist from the University of Dundee in Scotland, United Kingdom. She is in the Department of Civil Engineering's Concrete Technology Unit. While at the CAER, she will be working on a National Institute of Homeland Security project, "Rapidly Deployable System for the Structural Stabilization of Shock Damaged Structures." Anthoula will be here during the spring semester. This interaction is made possible through the CAER's longstanding relationship with faculty members in Dundee. Staff members from CAER's Environmental and Coal Technologies group have previously worked for extended periods in Scotland, installing the CAER-concept ash-processing units.
- Catherine Le (left) and Guillaume Lelimousin (right) -- students from the University of Burgundy's Dijon materials engineering program (ESIREM) - have arrived. This begins our second decade of hosting these students for a six-month work experience in Kentucky. The materials science students are assigned a mentor/supervisor from appropriate programs and perform research, which in turn serves as their senior/master's project at ESIREM.
- Visiting scientist Zhisheng Chen (below, left) will be working at the lab for a year. During this year, Mr. Chen will be in with the Power Generation Research Group. He earned a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from the Tsinghua University (China) and most recently worked at the China Datong Technologies and Engineering Co. Ltd.
- Susanta Mohapatra (above, right) received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, India. He is currently a research assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Nevada at Reno and will be working in the Biofuels Group.
Teaching and Instruction
- CAER hosted the third annual UK Energy Fair January 13th at the Student Center's Grand Ballroom. This year's event served more 4th graders than ever (260 compared to 200 the previous years) -- with some special 7th graders helping out. Four local 7th grade science-fair winners, whose projects involved energy, participated and explained their projects to the 9 and 10 year olds. This allowed the younger students to see what they can aspire to. This activity joined the hands-on exhibits and demonstrations provided by energy professionals.
- Doug Keaton, of Project NEED met with experts from the Power Generation Group to incorporate carbon-management techniques into Project NEED curriculum. The organization promotes energy awareness through education and networks of students, educators, business, government and community leaders.
- Bob Rathbone and Bob Jewell performed several, long-term energy experiments at CAER's educational-partner, Russell Cave Elementary. The project taught science, math, and graphing skills.
- CAER researchers are teaching two UK courses this semester: one on earthquakes and volcanoes (GLY 150) and the other is on energy systems (CME599).
- Dr. Steve Lipka, leader of CAER's Electrochemical Power Sources Group, has become an adjunct assistant professor in UK's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He will have a three-year appointment, which can be renewed.
- The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers featured Courtney Fisk as one of ASABE's "New Faces of Engineering for 2010." Her story is our feature article.
- Burt Davis has co-edited a new book with Dr. Mario L. Occelli. It is entitled "Advances in Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis, Catalysts, and Catalysis" and is published by CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group). The CAER's Davis is a renowned expert in Fischer-Tropsch Synthesis.
- B.K. Parekh contributed to a new book entitled, "Beneficiation of Phosphates Technology Advance and Adoption," by co-authoring three chapters.
- A retirement reception was held in mid-February honoring Jackie Herrington (left) and Robert Spicer (right), two long-term employees. Jackie, an electrician, and Rob, an engineer, will both be missed.
Meetings and Special Presentations
- The CAER is organizing a Biomass to Energy Short Course at the West Liberty Office on April 14th. The course will provide a broad introduction to biomass utilization for energy. Current and emerging technologies will be considered, including bioethanol production from corn starch and cellulosic biomass, and the production of biodiesel and "green" or "renewable" diesel. Other topics that will be covered include the development of new feedstocks such as sweet sorghum and algae, and the economics of biomass utilization. For more information, go to the short course web site.
- Rodney testified before the Natural Resources Committee on power plant efficiency as a means of carbon management and attended the Kentucky Climate Action Planning Council Meeting at the state EPA headquarters.
Grants and Proposals
- Mark Crocker's Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group recently obtained $124K in funding to develop a process for the catalytic upgrading of algae oil to hydrocarbon fuels from Sapphire Energy. The company was launched in May of 2007 and was named one of Business Week's best start up companies in 2008.
- Clean Fuels and Chemicals Group Researcher, Uschi Graham, is part of a team that was recently rewarded one of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's largest grants to explore the environmental impact of nanomaterials. The $2M STAR grant will enable the group to explore the long-term properties of engineered nanomaterials that influence their distribution into the cells comprising the blood-brain barrier and the brain and to characterize their effects on the brain. The EPA describes STAR grants as "engaging the nation's best scientists and engineers in targeted research that complements EPA's own outstanding intramural research program and those of our partners in other federal agencies."