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General CAER News

See this issue's feature story on the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet's field trip to the CAER.

Spring garnered quite a bit of media attention for CAER.

NIST Funds Story

  • The Center's recent NIST and NSF grants were part of Odyssey Magazine's collected features entitled "UK Successfully Secures Stimulus Funds." These recent grants are part of the 124 UK awards from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Odyssey entire story.
  • The April 30th issue of Business Lexington's "Green Business" feature is a story on the CAER's Brock Marrs (Vice President for Research) and Tom Robl (President and Co-founder) of NuForm Materials. The 3-year-old company in Sadieville recycles high-quality ceramics from fly ash discarded at coal combustion power plants.
  • The same issue features a partnership among UK's College of Design, the CAER, and Kentucky Highlands Investment Corp., a Somerset, Kentucky-based nonprofit. The project hopes to transform the state's recession-touched houseboat industry into a new energy-efficient modular home industry.
  • The June 11th issue of Business Lexington features an article about the CAER's carbon pollution reduction research. Entitled Cutting the costs of CO2 Removal, the article describes the reason carbon reduction is particularly important to the Commonwealth.

Vence Easterling

  • CAER chemical engineering Ph.D. candidate Vence Easterling is making news for his catalytic converter research. The story recently appeared in UKNOW and will soon be publicized by Ford's PR department. His CAER mentor is Dr. Mark Crocker, head of the Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group.

Outside Interactions

  • CAER Director Rodney Andrews participated in the Kentucky Research and Economic Competitiveness workgroup's Council on Postsecondary Educational Strategic Planning Subgroup.
  • Michael Kluse, Director of Pacific Northwest National Lab, toured the CAER's laboratories on Friday, May 21st. The meeting was arranged by Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters, who was the former director of PNNL.
  • Rodney made a presentation on "Kentucky's Place in a Carbon-Constrained World" during the Kentucky Electrical Association meeting in Washington DC.
  • Along with Shiela Medina, Rodney attended a FACES of Coal meeting in Frankfort. The meeting was convened to arrive at a consensus for a future direction for the FACES effort in Kentucky. The group decided to pursue setting both short term and long term goals. One overarching theme that was agreed upon was that all of the coal interests need to unite with one message focused on the benefits of coal to the state and directed to an audience who has no predetermined stance on the subject. The message should be balanced and should not hide the past negatives of the industry. FACES should target a broad range of media outlets, including guest columns in state publications.

George Kaufman

  • George Kaufman is working with the Electrochemical Power Sources Group this summer as a visiting scientist. He is an assistant professor from Transylvania University in Lexington. He earned several degrees from Brown and Harvard University including a PhD in Physical Chemistry.
  • Darrell Taulbee, Mike Montross (UK College of Ag), and Gregg Copley visited a job corp. site for a potential biomass project in Muhlenburg County. In addition, Darrell attended the Board of Directors Meeting for Institute for Briquetting and Agglomeration in Chicago.
  • Greg Copley attended and presented at National Environmental Partnership Summit in Orlando, FL and visited with Patriot Biofuels LLC to observe modular ethanol processing equipment in Iowa and Minnesota.
  • Matt Weisenberger and John Craddock traveled with representatives from the US Army AMRDEC and Materials Sciences Corporation to Austin, TX to meet with the owners and researchers of Applied Nanotech, Inc. The Austin-based company produces CarbAl, a carbon-aluminum composite, which has excellent heat spreading capabilities. Discussions centered on possibilities of the material for military airframe applications, as well as mutual interests and areas of collaboration. The same group also met the owner of Material Innovations, Inc. The Huntington Beach-based small business specializes in various cooling systems for defense and aerospace applications. Several thermal management solutions were explored.

UK Interactions

Steve Lipka

  • CAER's leader of the Electrochemical Power Sources Group, Dr. Steve Lipka, will perform double duty soon as Associate Director for the Professional Development Program at the Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky and develop courses in the PEIK curriculum in energy storage. UK's College of Engineering was recently awarded 2.5M to start the institute. The funding will be used to provide education and certification in power engineering to undergraduates, graduate students and working professionals. L.E. Holloway, chair of the electrical and computer engineering department at UK will direct the institute.
  • Mr. Carlos Caberra, former Chairman and CEO of UOP and distinguished alumni of the UK College of Engineering, visited CAER on June 29, along with Dean Lester, Associate Deans Grulke and Sweigard, and Professor Saito. Mr. Caberra visited the UK campus and CAER in his new role as President and CEO of China's National Institute of Clean-and-Low Carbon Energy (NICE), which is in the formative stages of development with sponsorship from Shenhua Group - one China's largest state-owned mining and energy companies. Located in Beijing, NICE seeks to do develop clean energy technologies, including carbon capture and sequestration, direct coal liquefaction, coal gasification, and renewable energy and chemicals. The parties discussed a number of important areas of potential collaboration between NICE, CAER and the College of Engineering.

Grants and Proposals

  • Mark Crocker visited Oak Ridge National Lab to discuss an on-going project and to discuss a joint project proposal submission to the U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Lignin Project at CAER and UK

  • Last August the National Science Foundation awarded UK a $1.9M grant through its Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) Program. The project's goal is to investigate the high capacity processes required for the production of hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass. There is now a web site developed to disseminate information on the project. In addition to the latest discoveries, you can find information on the participants, their publications, and news relating to lignin. The Project Investigator is Rodney Andrews (Director CAER). The Co-Project Investigators are: Mark Crocker, Sam Morton (CAER), Seth DeBolt (UK's Dept. of Horticulture), and Mark Meier (UK's Dept. of Chemistry and CAER).

Staff/Student Accolades

  • The following article is currently listed as the 5th most downloaded article at Journal of Catalysis. de Lima, S.M.; da Silva, A.M.; da Costa, L.O.O.; Graham, U.M.; Jacobs, G.; Davis, B.H.; Mattos, L.V.; Noronha, F.B., "Study of catalyst deactivation and reaction mechanism of steam reforming, partial oxidation, and oxidative steam reforming of ethanol over Co/CeO2 catalyst," 'Journal of Catalysis' 268 (2009) 268-281.

Meetings and Special Presentations

  • Mark Crocker and Rodney Andrews participated in an algae project update for the Kentucky Dept. of Energy Development and Independence in Frankfort, which is funding the work.
  • Mark Crocker attended KREC meeting in Lexington and gave the meeting participants tour of CAER algae greenhouse.
  • A Carbon Management Research Group (CMRG) Review Meeting was on 2-3 June 2010. Attendees included representatives from Big Rivers), EKPC, EPRI, E.ON, AEP, Duke Energy, and EEC (Frankfort).
  • Matt Weisenberger, John Craddock, and Karen Petty attended the Spring Society for the Advancement of Material Process Engineering (SAMPE) meeting in Seattle, WA. Also from CAER were graduate students Carissa Dowden and Ashley Morris. The group presented 3 papers.


Russell Cave Tour 2010

  • For eight years the Center has partnered with a local elementary school (Russell Cave) to teach students about energy. On May 26th the 4th grade class visited the lab for the annual field trip and picnic. Through hands-on demos, the kids learned about carbon materials, algae for CO2 reduction, fly ash, and liquid nitrogen.
  • Greg Copley exhibited at the Kentucky Forest Industries Association Regional Meeting in Perry County.