May-June, 2003 - VOLUME 2, NUMBER 3
General CAER News
Two meetings related to coal research were attended by Ari Geertsema. The first was the board meeting of the Gasification Technologies Council during which a workshop was held to kick off a scenario-based evaluation of the technical, commercial and regulatory conditions which might influence the adaptation of gasification as a preferred technology for power generation. This initiative, funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), will be coordinated by Booz Allen Hamilton and several more workshops will follow to include inputs from all relevant parties. President Bush's FutureGen initiative (a proposed research platform facility that would demonstrate coal gasification with hydrogen production and full carbon sequestration) was also discussed. CAER is making its capabilities in the area of coal by-product utilization known to those involved in this initiative so that we will be seriously considered as technology suppliers when the project details are later defined.
Ari also attended a two-day meeting with DOE administrators and representatives of the technical committee of the Coal Utilization Research Council in Pittsburgh. The purpose was to create better alignment regarding the joint road map which these two organizations drew up together with EPRI. Particular attention was given to the 2005 budget cycle. Many items which were anticipated in the 2004 federal budget are likely to be dropped and it was decided to give inputs to DOE for the 2005 budget. Understanding to a greater degree where the various thrusts are managed in the DOE, and how the interconnections between technical topics are handled, will enable CAER to have a better grasp of the opportunities for submitting successful project proposals and to be able to give timely inputs before solicitations are issued.
Ari attended the Low Rank Fuels Conference and the contact which was initiated in 2002 when a visit was paid to EERC (Energy and Environment Research Center at the University of North Dakota), was followed up with an agreement for a joint CAER/EERC proposal to DOE for funding a project regarding fly ash in cement. The DOE is encouraging such cooperation and in this area. There are complimentary strengths which each organization can bring into such a project. The proposal is in preparation.
Eva Brown and Gisele Rabchevsky developed and coordinated on-site computer training classes in Scanning & Powerpoint. There were three 8 hour sessions with 8 attendees in each session.
Proposals and Awards
CAER was selected for a DOE project entitled "Advanced Gasification By-Product Utilization" and funded under the University Coal Research Program. This will be a collaborative project with The Pennsylvania State University and several industries to evaluate aspects of upgrading and marketing chars from modern gasification facilities. The total project value will be about $500,000 over three years.
BK Parekh received funding by two agencies (The Kentucky Science and Engineering Foundation and the Consortium for Advanced Separation Technologies) to support two projects on different aspects of thickening coal slurry ponds. The KSEF project (total value $80,000) will evaluate the applicability of a novel paste thickening technology at a coal preparation plant in Kentucky which practices conventional ponding of the slurries. The CAST-funded work (total value $172,900) will evaluate the applicability of the paste thickening technology to the slurry cell disposal technique, which is currently being used in the state of West Virginia.
Meetings and Special Presentations
The Tri-state Catalysis Society held its spring symposium May 12-13 in Lexington. The CAER's Uschi Graham organized the meeting and the lab was well represented with six presentations. Poster awards went to students Emilie Chenu and Whitney Conner.
For a number of years CAER and the ACAA (American Coal Ash Association) have each organized an ash conference every other year. The Lexington based CAER conference usually has a large international component and is mainly a technical meeting. The next one is scheduled for October of this year. The ACAA had its last meeting in January, 2003 and it focused more on the industrial and marketing aspects of coal ash. At a recent meeting in Charlotte, NC it was agreed that the two organizations will work towards hosting a joint meeting in April, 2005 in Lexington. CAER and ACAA will share 50/50 in this venture and it is expected that the synergies from a joint conference will add significantly to the value of the meeting. A working group has been formed to take this initiative forward.
The CAER exhibited at Coal Prep 2003 and was well represented by attendees.
UK graduate student, Laura Tzanetos came to the CAER last January, while a graduate student at the Patterson School of Diplomacy to aide in compiling data for the UK Energy Task Force's report. She is one of two recipients of the Bert Combs Scholarship, which will enable her to go to UK's Law School. She will receive full tuition for three years, along with a substantial living stipend, for a total award of over $30,000. She received a Masters in Diplomacy with a concentration in Environmental Economics & Law in December.
Whitney Conner is a fourth-year undergraduate chemistry student, who has worked at CAER since May, 2000. She will graduate with a BA in chemistry, a BS in mathematics, and a BS in mathematical economics. She received an award which enabled her to attend the 18th North American Catalysis Society Meeting in Cancun, Mexico June 1-6, 2003. She is one of the very few undergraduates to get this award, which usually goes to a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher.
Sarah Mardon was this year's recipient of the Tarr Award from the Department of Geology. It usually goes to a senior, and recognizes a student's "contributions to the department." Sarah works at the CAER with petrologist Jim Hower as an undergraduate geology student.
Outside Organization Interactions
On May 21, B.K. Parekh attended a kick-off meeting for the recently-funded Mining Industry in the Future project entitled "Development of Advanced Surface Enhancement Technology for Decreasing Wear and Corrosion of Equipment Used for Mineral Processing." Dr. Parekh is a co-PI on this project. The other co-PI is Dr. Rick Honaker in UK Mining Engineering. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a sub-contractor and, additionally, there are fifteen industrial partners.
The first year of an outreach program with a local elementary school culminated with the 4th grade students from Russell Cave Elementary touring the CAER on May 28th. This gave the students, who had witnessed demonstrations by scientists in the classroom throughout the year, an opportunity to see the same scientists in their work environment. This was followed by a picnic for students, teachers, and scientists. Channel 27 and UKTV both broadcast feature stories on this program.
On June 20 the regular monthly meeting of the Vice President of Research and her staff was hosted at CAER. This was followed by a tour of the facilities. It was also an opportunity for the CAER staff to be addressed by and meet Dr. Baldwin. This was very much appreciated by our people, who do not generally have much interaction with our campus colleagues.
Dr. Eric Grulke was recently appointed Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering. Eric has had a longstanding relationship with CAER as Faculty Associate and was specifically involved with the activities in the Carbon Materials group. For a number of years he was an Associate Director at CAER. With his greater responsibility in the college, it was agreed that he will step back from his role at CAER and Rodney Andrews was promoted to Engineer Associate IV with the title of Associate Director for the Carbon Materials group. We thank Eric for his dedication to CAER and we will maintain close contact with him. Our best wishes to him and to Rodney in taking up their extended responsibilities.