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General CAER News

  • Representatives from Draper Laboratory (Cambridge, MA) met with CAER Director Rodney Andrews, UK President Lee Todd, and Associate Directors from the power generation, biofuels, and electrochemistry groups on March 17th to discuss potential collaborations.
  • Rodney, Courtney Fisk (CAER Project Manager), along with architects from Murphy & Graves and Hastings & Chivatta, engineers from CMTA Consulting Engineers, RFD Laboratory Consultants, and UK's CPMD representative, Keith Ingram, visited the University of CA at Irvine's BREN Center and National Renewable Energy Lab in Denver to discuss best practices and LEED laboratory designs. In a separate trip, John Anthony (Dept. of Chemistry) joined Andrews and Fisk at NREL's solar testing facility. These visits are taking place to gather information for the CAER's new laboratory building.
  • Rodney Andrews and Courtney Fisk visited Argonne National Lab to discuss the Kentucky-Argonne Battery Center Collaboration.
  • America's Power web site is featuring the CAER in an online article. is sponsored by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which is a partnership of the industries involved in producing electricity from coal.

CCGP Journal Logo

  • It has been a little over a year since CAER and the American Coal Ash Association announced the launch of the refereed journal, Coal Combustion and Gasification Products (CCGP). Now, there are 14 newly-published papers, available in Volume 1 and 2 accessible by the CCGP Journal website. A printed variation, not a full replica, of the papers will be published as an insert in the ACAA's magazine, Ash at Work, due out in June. The Ash at Work insert will present abstracts of the articles appearing on-line.

UK Interactions

WUKY logo

  • In early March UK President, Dr. Todd interviewed Rodney regarding the soon-to-be constructed energy research building on the UK Perspectives radio program. Rodney was later interviewed about coal and its future on UK's campus by journalism students as part of a radio program called Campus Voices. Parts of the pre-recorded interviewed were played on air for comments by a representative from the local Sierra Club as well as the President of the Kentucky Coal Association, who were in the studio. Radio Free Lexington (WRFL) is a commercial-free radio station on the UK campus, run by students.
  • Rodney participated in a panel with former Indian President Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam as part of the UK Gatton Business School visit.
  • Rodney, along with KGS geologists Dave Harris and Brandon Nuttall visited Marathon Oil to discuss collaborations on carbon capture and storage.

Outside Interactions

Staffers Tour CAER

  • Four federal staffers learned about CAER's research portfolio on April 20th. Brian Smith (Director of Economic Development, U.S. Representative Brett Guthrie's office); Holly Hopkins and Regina Crawford (Field Representatives, U.S. Senator Jim Bunning's Office); and Sandy Simpson (Field Representative, U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield's Office) toured the labs. They saw current renewable and fossil energy research taking place, which bears on the legislative decisions made in Washington.
  • Robert Evans, Chief of the Aerospace Materials Function Propulsion & Structures Division WDI Directorate, along with Keith Roberts, Matt Tripplett, Kristin Spencer, and Amanda Napier of AMRDEC, visited the Carbon Materials Group at CAER to kick-off two new programs they have funded. Also in attendance were Rich Foedinger and Simon Chung of Materials Sciences Corporation (Horsham, PA), the prime contractor and collaborator with these projects. CAER researchers Matt Weisenberger and John Craddock reviewed the latest results pertaining to carbon nanotube-based materials for thermal management and electromagnetic interference shielding applications. High on the agenda were discussions towards commercialization of new materials and processes developed during these programs from associated Univ. of KY IP. CAER director, Rodney Andrews and Carbon Materials Associate Director, Mark Meier, joined in the review and discussion.
  • On Thursday April 15, CAER hosted a visit from DHS program officers Mike Matthews and Tony Lotierzo, along with NIHS staff members Ewell Balltrip and Sam Varnado. Associate directors Tom Robl and Mark Meier presented overviews of on-going DHS/NIHS research projects, and Rodney Andrews presented an overview of other CAER research projects and capabilities.

Grants and Proposals

Dr. Kunlei Liu

  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced recently that the CAER has won a $1.9M grant from its ARPA-E Program. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA - E) program grant was awarded for "A Solvent/Membrane Hybrid Post-Combustion CO2 Capture Process for Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants." Dr. Kunlei Liu, Associate Director for the CAER Power Generation and Utility Fuels Group, will manage the grant.

Teaching and Instruction

CAER hosted the 2010 Energy Fair for Lexington Students

  • Nick Kitsos of Vine Grove, Kentucky, joined CAER briefly to work with the Power Generation and Utilitiy Fuels Group. He is co-oping with E.ON U.S. in Louisville. While here, he worked on the Carbon Management Research Group project. Nick is an undergraduate at U of L pursuing a bachelors degree in electrical engineering.
  • An advanced physics class from Berea (Madison County) toured a nearby power plant, the UK Department of Physics, Coldstream Research Farm, and capped off their day at the CAER on March 24th. Their teacher, Susan Haddix, was part of a two-day energy tour for teachers led by Bluegrass PRIDE last fall. On that tour, she learned about energy research and undergraduate/graduate work at CAER and wanted to share it with some of her college-bound science students.

Daniel Borman

  • Daniel Borman, a Georgetown College undergraduate, is working with the Biofuels Group this semester. The school is a small, private, liberal arts college, located in nearby Georgetown, about six miles from the CAER. This continues a research/work opportunity provided to these students, which began a couple of years ago and has proven quite successful.
  • Rodney participated in the Project Lead the Way Executive Council meeting at Spindletop Hall April 8th.
  • CAER chemical engineering graduate student Andy Placido successfully defended his thesis on April 12th. Rodney Andrews and Doug Kalika (Dept. of Chemical and Materials Engineering) are his thesis advisors.

Staff/Student Accolades

Burt Davis

  • Burt Davis was selected to receive the Synfuels Award of the Tri-State Catalysis Society on April 26. The Synfuels Award will be provided every third year to a laudable recipient for his/her contribution to further the advancement of synthetic fuels development. The next award recipient will be announced at the 2013 North American Catalysis Society meeting, which will be hosted by the Tri-State Catalysis Society in Louisville.
  • CAER Petrologist Jim Hower was appointed to a new three-year term on the advisory board of the International Pittsburgh Coal Conference. He will continue to serve as a co-chair of the technical program committee.

ukTech10 and Mark Crocker

  • The April 5th issue of the Lexington Herald-Leader ran a story on the ukTech10 downtown showcase. The event was a vehicle for UK researchers to demonstrate their technologies to the public. Visitors to ukTech10 saw a smaller-scale version of Mark Crocker's algae scrubber used to grow algae for use in biofuels and carbon management.
  • Veteran researcher B.K. Parekh recently received an award from the American Filtration Society (AFS) for completing a term on their Advisory Board (2007-2009). However, his work with the group is far from over. B.K. will chair the next national meeting, which will take place in 2011. AFS is the premier organization in North America dedicated to R&D, solutions and technology transfer in filtration and separation for the benefit of industrial processes, individual health and a clean environment.

GVC Awardees

L to R: Brock Marrs, Anne Oberlink, Hamid Sheikh, Tristana Duvallet, Dallas Rose

  • Graduate students from the CAER and undergraduates from the Gatton College of Business and Economics teamed up to make the finals of the 2010 Global Venture Challenge hosted by Oak Ridge National Lab on March 24-26. The challenge, which is the Department of Energy's premier commercialization competition, brings together students that are developing new technology with venture capital groups and business development companies. The team developed and presented a commercialization plan for new insulating foam materials manufactured from polyurethane foam and ceramics recycled from coal combustion ash. This technology, developed by CAER and NuForm Materials LLC, was judged as part of the advanced materials for the sustainable energy track. Over 40 teams from around the world applied for the competition but only a few were invited to Oak Ridge to present their plans. The UK team was one of six finalists to reach the last day of competition in the energy track and came away with an honorable mention award. Team advisors included Brock Marrs (NuForm Materials LLC), Chris Clifford (Gatton College of Business and Economics), and Rodney Andrews (CAER).

Meetings and Special Presentations

  • Mark Crocker moderated a session, "NSF: Priorities and Opportunities" at the KY Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference held at the Marriott Griffin Gate.
  • A paper entitled "Deuterium-labeled ethanol tracer studies on iron-catalyzed Fischer-Tropsch synthesis" by M.K. Gnanamani, R.A. Keogh, W.D. Shafer, B. Shi and B.H. Davis received "Best Paper Award" at the 2010 AIChE Spring Topical Meeting, March 21-25, in SanAntonio. Burtron H. Davis served as the session chair at the meeting for three sessions: "Coal, Biomass, and Natural Gas to Liquids -- I and II," and "Production of Fuels and Chemicals from Fischer-Tropsch Hydrocarbons." Gary Jacobs was the session chair for two sessions, "Kinetics, Design, and Modeling of Fischer-Tropsch Catalysts and Reactions I and II," and the co-chair for the session entitled "CO2 Conversion."
  • CAER researcher Jim Hower and students Allison Richardson, Anne Satterwhite, and Rachel Hatch participated in the first Ohio Valley Organic Petrographers Colloquium in Henderson, KY on March 31st. The informal meeting was designed as a way for the coal and organic petrographers in the region to give talks without the inconvenience of travel to distant cities or the confines of short presentation times.
  • The Fourth Annual Dept. of Homeland Security-University Network Summit was held on March 10-12 at the Renaissance Marriot Hotel in Washington, DC. The Summit focused on the contributions of scientific and technological advancement to economic, community and individual resilience. Experts discussed how advancements in science and technology intelligently make the nation more resilient. Tom Robl (Associate Director, Environmental and Coal Technologies) presented his DHS project at the Summit. He is developing a rapidly-deployable system to stabilize blast-damaged structures to avoid catastrophic failure. The system is composed of a delivery vehicle capable of shotcreting or grouting prepackaged fiber-forced cements, mortars, and micro-aggregated concretes that are strong and rapid setting.
  • Researcher Jack Groppo made a presentation to a panel at the Indiana Center for Coal Technology Research, Advisory Panel meeting in Indianapolis.