World of Coal Ash Conference -
The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research and the American Coal Ash Association held the second World of Coal Ash (WOCA) Conference May 7-10th. The meeting, held in Covington, Kentucky's convention center, enjoyed the attendance of over 500 from 30 countries. This is the world's largest meeting devoted to coal combustion (by) products in addition to being the biggest recurring-conference hosted by the University of Kentucky.
Planning and carrying out such an all-encompassing meeting that satisfies both academics and industrialists is not easy. Apparently there were enough talks ranging from basic science to commercial successes to satisfy both.
Once the conference began, in addition to attending individual presentations, people were interested in networking with old and new friends. The 44 exhibits were a popular meeting place, where both commercial and nonprofit exhibitors had opportunities to discuss who and what they represented.
There is a long list of people to thank. Industrial groups provided sponsorship, exhibits, and/or sent attendees and speakers as an expression of their interest. Their presence and input helped to highlight real-world problems and prevailing issues, to identify research needs, and to bring a welcome sense of perspective to the goal of research. Universities sent both students and faculty members, who are essential to balancing commercial perspectives with 'what if' proposals.
We also wish to thank those who helped with conference preparations - both technical and logistical. Likewise, the on-site planned and unplanned assistance from all involved meant that the meeting went smoothly. To those who served as speakers and session monitors, thank you. You provided the meat of the conference.
The 'worker bees/conference organizers' of both ACAA and CAER attempted to make the meeting both educational and fun. Judging by the groups that took half an hour to realize that the riverboat had docked, we must have succeeded.
Finally, congratulations to Dr. Tom Robl, whose short course proved so successful. The parallel-session short course included more than 70 participants - far more than the number from the 2005 meeting. Providing separate tracks for the novice and the more knowledgeable attendee satisfied dual-niches. While it is important to provide large venues for scientists to make both poster and oral presentations, it is equally important for a university to provide experts who can share their knowledge in an in-depth arena, such as a short course provided.
We hope to see all involved again in 2009.