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General CAER News

Sarah Mardon, UK CAER

  • The CAER would like to welcome the newest member of its regional outreach group. Sarah Mardon will act as our Energy Coordinator for western Kentucky and be based in Henderson. Sarah comes to us with a wealth of experience, including an institutional knowledge of the CAER. She performed research here under Dr. James Hower, both as an undergraduate and graduate student in UK's Department of Geology. She can be reached at: Email & Phone.
  • Faculty from the College of Engineering at Prairie View A&M University (TX) toured the CAER on May 2nd, as part of a larger tour of the UK College of Engineering.

Tri-State Electric Cooperatives Accountants Association tour at UK CAER

  • The Tri-State Electric Cooperatives Accountants Association heard presentations by Dr. Len Peters (Kentucky Secretary of Energy) and CAER Director, Rodney Andrews regarding energy on March 28th. The group of 75 then toured the CAER labs.
  • Administrators, Shiela Medina and Courtney Fisk attended the 2nd Annual Conference for Kentucky Energy Workforce Development this spring.

UK Interactions

  • Dr. Todd retirement celebration Patterson Office Tower, RA presented for faculty.
  • The CoD presented the 100+ year plan and scale models of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) in Paducah as part of a UK College of Design event on the importance of design to the growth of Paducah in April and provided interactive presentations in Lexington and at the the UK College of Design during late April and early May. Efforts integrate site re-use, economic and job growth potential relative to the city of Paducah. Draft digital and scale models of the PGDP and vicinity have been completed to serve as public education and outreach tools.
  • Kentucky Energy Club Program Manager Bree McCarney is helping the UK Sustainability Council with preparations for this year's Big Blue Goes Green event.
  • Rodney spoke to Dr. Stacy Closson's energy security class in the Patterson School of Diplomacy on petroleum pricing and alternative fuels; attended a Mining Foundation Board meeting on April 29th; and (with Courtney Fisk) attended a beta research analytics Dashboard Demo on campus.

Outside Interactions

ICCI logo

  • Dr. Francois Botha of the Illinois Clean Coal Institute met with Jim Neathery to discuss progress of the CMRG project concerning the effect of Illinois coal on carbon capture solvent degradation.
  • Mr. DeAlmeida of ALSTROM met with Jim Neathery and Kunlei Liu and Joe Remias to discuss CO2 capture research with the China/US DOE project. Jim Neathery visited the Brown Generating Station with (Donnie Duncan & E.W. Brown) to discuss the logistics and location of a demonstration pilot plant for CO2 Capture.
  • Dr. Arlene Garrison, VP of University Partnerships of Oak Ridge affiliated universities, visited the CAER to discuss more student interactions with ORNL.
  • Staffers Regina Crawford and Dan Bayans of Senator McConnell's and Representative Paul's field offices (respectively), visited and toured the CAER.
  • There was a site visit on April 14th by staff of the state Department of Energy Development and Independence to review progress on the high production lab building project.
  • Researcher Gary Jacobs toured facilities and met with a number of researchers at Argonne National Laboratory to discuss potential collaborations making use of the Advance Photon Source for catalytic applications.
  • Associate Director Burt Davis attended the 2100 KY Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Workshop Technical Advisory Board meeting in Louisville March 14-15.
  • Advanced Earthenergy technologies met with Rodney, Sam Morton, Mike Wilson, Andy Placido and Mark Crocker to discuss CAER's algae cultivation system and discuss possible future cooperation.

EKPC logo

  • Several members of the Biofuels Group met with Met with Paul Dolloff of East Kentucky Power Coop to discuss the possibility of UK installing a demo-scale algae-based system for CO2 capture.
  • J.J. Biernacki of Tennessee Tech presented a seminar and met with the biofuels group to discuss joint research projects.

Energy Club News:

  • McCarney met with the Morehead State University faculty member Dr. Jenn O'Keefe and students to discuss starting a new chapter of the energy club there.
  • The Centre College Chapter participated in the Centre carnival to help spread the message of energy club and recruit members. Student Celeste Hurst spearheaded the project.
  • Law School Dean of Engagement, Daniel Murphy met with Bree to discuss participation and collaboration with the UK Chapter.
  • The Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council, headed by Tresine Logsdon, has asked the UK Chapter to be a community partner.
  • The UK Chapter will be working in teams with engineering firms, OMNI and CMTA on the UK student center renovation project and recently helped plant hundreds of tree saplings during Reforest the Bluegrass.

Energy Club kids planting trees

Meetings and Special Presentations

  • Rodney presented on the state of the art of coal-to-liquids research before the congressional coal caucus in Washington DC.
  • Rodney attended the NSF EFRI grantees' conference along with Sam Morton and Andy Placido, in Arlington, VA.
  • CAER Researcher Gary Jacobs chaired a session entitled "Kinetics, Design and Modeling of Fischer-Tropsch Catalysts and Reactions I" and co-chaired a session entitled "Kinetics, Design and Modeling of Fischer-Tropsch Catalysts and Reactions II" at the AICHE Spring Topical Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, March 13-17, 2011. Another researcher, Muthu Gnanamani, co-chaired two sessions entitled, "Production of Fuels and Chemicals from Fischer-Tropsch Hydrocarbons I" and "Production of Fuels and Chemicals from Fischer-Tropsch Hydrocarbons II" at the AICHE Spring Topical Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, March 13-17, 2011.
  • Eastern Regional Coordinator Greg Copley gave an overview presentation on CAER to the East KY Chapter of the KY Society of Petroleum Engineers on April 19 in Paintsville.

Pike County Biomass Tour

  • On April 20th, two staff members participated in a Reforestation & Biomass Opportunities on Former Surface Mine Lands meeting in Williamsburg. The event was sponsored by the Letcher County Soil Conservation District through a US EPA brownfields grant. Scientist Dr. Darrell Taulbee discussed biomass pelletizing research results. Greg Copley discussed potential economic development opportunities from biomass-to-energy projects and highlighted the UK College of Agriculture Pike County biomass crop study. The goal of the event was to increase awareness of reforestation and biomass opportunities among the public, landowners, coal companies, local and state governments, and the science community in and around Letcher County and Central Appalachia, working toward sustainable development of former surface mine lands. Copley led a site visit to the UK Pike County Biomass Research Project Bent Mountain sites the following day. Both the UK College of Ag/CAER project site and the native hardwood reintroduction project conducted by the UK Forestry Dept. and Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative were visited. Participants included the Energy and Environment Cabinet Divisions of Biofuels and Compliance Assistance, US EPA, Moore Ventures, and conference contractors AMEC.


  • Business Lexington's April 29, 2011 automotive issue features a story called Charging Up, which features the Kentucky-Argonne Center.
  • Kate Shanks (DEDI), Greg Copley, and Sarah Mardon met with members of the Fleming County school board (including the superintendent) and John Smith (interested in wind turbines, etc. and has an insulation company). They discussed the feasibility of installing a wind turbine at a new school being built.

Teaching and Instruction

  • Associate Director Mark Crocker finished co-teaching 'Principles and Applications of Catalysis' in the Chemistry Dept. (580 level course) with Dr. F. Ladipo.

Staff/Student Accolades

  • Darrell Taulbee received safety act designation for Ferti-Safe technology from the Department of Homeland Security. This means DHS took an objective look at the technology and considers it a QATT - qualified anti-terrorist technology and DHS has placed limits on any potential liability claims against UK as owner of the technology.

Heather Hacker

  • Heather Hacker (CAER HR rep.) received her Associate of Applied Science in Education and Associate in Arts from Bluegrass Community and Technical College and will be transferring to Midway College in the fall. She has been selected as the 2011 Outstanding Education Graduate by BCTC.
  • Ashley Morris successfully defended her M.S. thesis in mechanical engineering for a May 2011 graduation. Rodney Andrews (ME) was the committee chair. Ashley has taken (and started) a job with CAER in the carbon materials group as an engineer associate II.
  • Carbon researcher Matt Weisenberger is the new Associate Director for the Carbon Materials Group. Matt succeeds Mark Meier, UK Dept. of Chemistry, who was the Acting Associate Director of the group for the last few years, and currently serves Chair of Chemistry. More congratulations go to Shiela Medina, who has become the Associate Director for the newly-formed Development and Community Engagement group. This group brings together various research-support functions (e.g., development, regional energy coordinators, library, energy club program manager, web, and communications).

Kristen Davis

  • Congratulations to Kristen Davis, an undergraduate working at CAER who has been selected as one of 10 finalists for Student Employee of the Year at UK.