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General CAER News

A successful carbon management capture workshop was hosted by CAER. The workshop offered informative technical presentations that provided an overview of carbon capture technologies and recent research progress allowing attendees to become more informed in carbon management issues and recent technical advances. The speakers included:

  • Abhoyjit Bhown - the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
  • Gary Rochelle - University of Texas
  • Stan Lam - Koch Modular Process Systems
  • Jim Neathery - UK CAER
  • Kunlei Liu - UK CAER
  • Joe Remias - UK CAER

UK Connections

Taking water samples from a sulfur spring on Drennan road in Henry County, Kentucky, 2013

  • Petrologist Jim Hower and Eastern Kentucky Regional Coordinator Greg Copley are assisting Jon Thorson, UK Pharmacy, in locating and sampling extreme environments in Kentucky. Such sites include soils associated with coal mine fires; waters associated with swamps, sulfur springs, acid mine drainage; and the spoils from lead and zinc mining. Thorson's research group is hoping to isolate previously unknown antibiotics and other drugs from microorganisms in the environments. Recent sampling took place in Owen and Henry Counties.
  • Twenty Members from the University of Kentucky's College of Design Studio toured CAER's Renewable Energy Building as well as visited the Algae Greenhouse and Minerals Processing Laboratory. CAER researchers spoke to the group at each stop, giving them a brief overview and primer of the energy research that is currently being done in that specific location.
  • Three CAER researchers presented at the first Southeastern Conference Symposium which was held in Atlanta. John Anthony, UK's Gill Professor of Chemistry presented advanced materials for energy applications. Anthony's laboratories are housed at CAER's Renewable Energy building. Mark Crocker, Associate Director of CAER's Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis research group and Burt Davis, Associate Director of CAER's Clean Fuels and Chemicals research group, also presented. Davis's talk was in energy advances in the transportation sector. Crocker spoke in a session about technologies for producing bio-power, biofuels and biomaterials. In addition to other CAER staff, four students attended.
  • Crocker participated in graduate student recruitment efforts in the Chemistry Department.
  • CAER Director Rodney Andrews met with Dean John Waltz of the UK College of Engineering to discuss possible collaborations.
  • Electrochemistry Associate Director Steve Lipka led a tour of the Kentucky-Argonne Battery Manufacturing R&D Center and electrochemistry lab to perspective chemistry graduate students.

Meetings and Special Presentations


  • Kentucky NSF EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) Program Director, Rodney Andrews, Program Administrator Jeff Mossey, and Program Manager Courtney Fisk attended a national EPSCoR meeting in Delaware.
  • The state energy cabinet's Jack Bagley met with CAER administrators to discuss possible funding for the Kentucky-Argonne Battery Manufacturing R&D Center.

Outside Interactions

  • A group of a dozen college students from the Lindsay Wilson College Energy Club toured the Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Building and the CAER Greenhouse, which houses the center's CO2 capture algae research.
  • Joe Bozell of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville is developing a joint EPSCoR proposal with on biofuels development.
  • Representatives of the Council on Post-Secondary Education, along with UK VP for Research Jim Tracy, met with renewable energy and energy storage researchers.
  • Sarah Mardon reviewed and made comments on the most recent Coal Facts guide, produced by state government.

Tour of UK CAER Renewables Building

  • The Bluegrass Chapter of the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers (KSPE) toured the CAER Renewables Laboratory. The group tours recently completed engineering projects and were very interested in this Murphy + Graves Architects project.


Crosstown Kids Show

  • Educational outreach staff members met with Scott Heydinger, producer of "Crosstown Kids" TV show to discuss possible collaborations. Crosstown Kids is a children's educational television show filmed in Central Kentucky. Each episode features a basic science principle and how it's used in the real world by taking viewers on virtual field trips.

Mike Wilson giving a tour of the UK CAER Algae Greenhouse

  • Teachers and students from a local Montessori school visited some of the CAER. Biofuels researcher Mike Wilson explained how algae are used for energy and toured the algae greenhouse. Courtney Fisk toured the energy-efficient renewable energy building, explaining its features.
  • Associate Director for Development and Community Engagement Shiela Medina and Regional Coordinator Gregg Copley attended a DoE webinar called An Energy Literate Citizenry from K-to-Gray.
  • Regional Coordinator Sarah Mardon and Medina participated in Sci Girls Training at Kentucky State University. The events included demonstrations that could be taught to middle school students. The purpose was to attract girls to STEM careers. Around 50 people attended.
  • Mardon also was a Panelist for Muhlenberg County High School's STEM event 'Death by Chocolate'; presented information about the KY Energy Club to students at Madisonville Community College; attended a UK-Paducah Energy Club meeting where they discussed site tours and seminars; attended DoE's Science Bowl; viewed the College of Design exhibit; talked with a high school science teacher about the ASER project and; and met with students at the Gatton Academy to talk about starting an Energy Club. In addition, she presented information to 9th and 10th grade Muhlenberg County students about working as a geologist, especially in the energy industry.

CNG refueling station

  • Copley toured a cattle operation on a Perry County reclaimed mine site with an agricultural extension agent and Morehead State University professor. He also met with Somerset's Mayor Eddie Girdler, to discuss CNG refueling, the CAER, and high school energy technology curriculum. While there, he toured the Somerset CNG Fueling Station.
  • Copley exhibited and presented at Morgan County's Farm and Family Night.
  • Steve Lipka, Burt Davis, and graduate student Liz Ware judged projects at local high school science fairs held this spring.
  • Medina and Copley met with Hazard Community Tech College staff regarding the energy club, lineman training and other potential projects.
  • Medina is on a task force to develop career pathways from secondary-to-community colleges-to-universities to ensure the energy worker pipeline.

Teaching and Instruction

  • John Anthony made an informal presentation to staff entitled "Introduction to Carbon-Based Electronics."

Our People Accolades

Vence Easterling at a reactor

  • Congratulations to Vence Easterling for receiving his Ph.D. in chemical engineering. Associate Director for Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis, Mark Crocker, was his co-advisor. Vence performed research throughout his graduate student career at CAER. His dissertation title was "The Effects of Ceria Addition on Aging and Sulfation of Lean NOx Traps for Stand Alone and LNT-SCR Applications". He also performed research at Ford Motor Company.

Rocks in the UK CAER Petrology Lab

  • Jennifer O'Keefe of Morehead State University was awarded an NSF EPSCoR Regional Research Enhancement Grant (R-REG). She is a collaborating researcher with CAER's James Hower. The grant provides summer support for EES graduate student Michelle Johnston, who also works at the Petrology Lab. In addition to O'Keefe mentoring Michelle; Michelle will, in turn, help mentor two of Jennifer's undergraduate students. The project will study the development of ancient organic sediments through palynology/mycology, organic petrography, geochemistry, and stratigraphic relationships, allowing them to explore past climate systems and predict future events.
  • Four local high school students who were mentored by CAER researchers placed well in this year's regional and state science fairs. Valerie Sarge (solar energy group) placed first in the Energy and Transportation category in both fairs; Will Kimmerer (carbon group) won top awards in the Environmental Sciences category; with Rohin Lohe (carbon group) placing first in the regional Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering category; and finally John Luan (Electrochemistry Group) also won in the "Energy and Transportation" category at regionals.