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May-June, 2002

Meetings & Special Presentations

Don Challman attended a meeting of the West Kentucky Energy Consortium for Energy & Environment on behalf of member Ari Geertsema. The meeting included presentations from the Kentucky Coal Council (Don Bowles, Chair) concerning energy and environmental trends, and coal informational resources available through the Council. The meeting also included an overview by Kenny Allen, Operations Manager, of Peabody Coal Company about its plan to construct and operate a base-load merchant power plant in Muhlenberg County called the 'Thoroughbred Power Plant.'

 The CAER was well represented at the 19th Annual International Coal Preparation Exhibition and Conference "Coal Prep 2002" in Lexington, Kentucky, on May 1-2. In addition to exhibiting there, several researchers attended.

Bob Rathbone and Tom Robl attended an update meeting of the technical group for the U.S. DoE project DE-PS26-00FT40759 on May 1st.

 CAER organized the Tri-State Catalysis Society's meeting, which was held in Lexington in May.

On May 31 Tom Robl presented a workshop on fly ash at the 7th International Conference, Exhibit and Short Course: Gypsum and Fly Ash 2002 in Toronto, Canada on June 3-4. He was also a session moderator.


A major national recruitment action was launched for four senior appointments in order to improve our capability to generate new research thrusts and to access more federal and industrial funds. Applications closed at the end of June.

At the May 14 meeting of the Kentucky Energy Policy Advisory Board, the Governor announced an initiative to draft a Kentucky Energy Policy. UK was asked to provide inputs into the process from an independent academic perspective and a core team of faculty members from different colleges was asked to serve on the UK Task Team. At the first meeting of this team CAER was asked to coordinate the UK portion of the process. This provides us with a significant opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the shaping of the state's future Energy Policy. The UK team made its first presentation to the Board on June 24.

A one-day leadership team meeting was held at the end of June during which the financial reporting, budget and administrative aspects of CAER's management was discussed and attention was given to the technical challenges ahead. This was followed by a retreat of the extended management group of about 20 staff members where the technical programs were discussed and time was spent identifying matters that could improve the functioning of CAER. These topics form a "To Do" list for the leadership team. Particular care was paid to improving the number and quality of proposals for funded projects. Attention was given to strengthening ties with campus. Dr. Rick Honaker of the Dept. of Mining Engineering attended the retreat by invitation. CAER is extending its interaction by re-appointing certain Faculty Associates and planning to appoint some new ones. A fresh look was taken to assess the situation of CAER staff as Adjunct Faculty members and the unattractiveness of this option to several people. Although the committed external funding of CAER is currently at a low point, there are a number of significant proposals which have recently been submitted.

As a member of the search committee for the new Vice President of Research, Ari was involved in interviews for the short listing of candidates. Names have been forwarded to Dr. Todd.

Dr. Michael McCarthy was at the CAER about three weeks as a visiting scientist from the University of Dundee Concrete Technology Unit within the Dept. of Civil Engineering. His expertise in concrete was a significant asset for the ECT Group.

The Carbon Group has been featured on another scientific journal cover. This is the second time since the beginning of the year. Rodney Andrews, David Jacques, Mickael Minot (a former student), and Terry Rantell have a published article in Volume 287 of Macromolecular Materials and Engineering.

Personel Accolades

Uschi Graham was elected as Secretary and Treasurer to the Tri-State Catalysis Society for a two-year term.

Jim Hower has been named to the advisory board for the project "Full scale testing of coal combustion product (CCP) pavement sections subjected to repeated wheel loads" conducted by Ohio State University and Ohio University.


In order to strengthen relationships with a number of institutions active in coal and environmental technology, Ari Geertsema, Tom Robl and Jim Neathery visited the Energy and Environmental Research Center (University of North Dakota), the National Energy Technology Laboratories (Morgantown and Pittsburgh), the Energy Institute at Penn State (College Park, PA) and Consol Energy Inc. (Library, PA). In all cases they were very well received and opportunities for collaboration as well as clarity on some new independent work were identified. These inputs will be used for further strategy planning.

Jim Hower helped lead a UK Faculty Tour of various sites in Eastern Kentucky on May 13. Jim, along with Jack Groppo, and Lee Clark helped lead a UK Faculty Tour of the Coleman power plant on May 15.

Outside Organization Interactions

Ari attended a meeting of the Gasification Technology Council where discussions on improving the profile of Gasification as a Clean Coal Technology are ongoing. The intent to form a Consortium for Gasification R&D is still being considered, but DoE needs to approve the approach before progress can be made. Along similar lines, a meeting coordinated by the Coal Utilization Research Council, was held in Washington DC. At this meeting Sen. Byrd (D. West Virginia) and other key experts in the coal energy field made presentations and staff from the Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate gave their perspectives of the status and probable progress with the DoE budget. Generally there does not seem to be much scope for funding of some of the lines from that CAER was funded by in the past.


Delphine Reynaud, Luc Sanchez, and Olivier Joannis de Verclos, three materials science students from the ESIREM at the University of Burgundy in France, finished their senior project at the CAER. They have returned to France, where they will present their work before faculty members in September. This is part of a larger university-wide partnering program with the French school that includes UK's Colleges of Agriculture and Business. The CAER has hosted students for four years.

Darrell Taulbee spoke about careers in chemistry at Career Day at Franklin County High School in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Bob Rathbone, Marybeth McAlister and Adam Berkovich met with the principal and 4th grade science teachers at Russell Cave Elementary to discuss the CAER's educational outreach there next fall.

Fuel Science Seminars

McCarthy, Michael, Univ. of Dundee, Scotland, "Overview of research in concrete technology at the University of Dundee," June 6.