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General CAER News

HBEER Prototype modular home in Kentucky

  • On December 21st, several CAER administrators and outreach staff toured the 'HBEER' prototype modular home (Video: HBEER: Project Overview) with Tom Manning-Beavin of Kentucky Highlands Corporation to see an example of a finished house. This house is one of two prototype structures (Video: HBEER: Prototype Tour) built during the past year in a project to develop highly energy-efficient, relatively low-cost houses that may be built at southern Kentucky factories that ordinarily produce houseboats. CAER's Development and Community Engagement (DCE) Associate Director Sheila Medina worked with the UK College of Design on the efficiency goals. Greg Copley, CAER Regional Representative, was involved in obtaining DOE funding through the Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant that is being administered by the Department for Local Government.

Algae tubes being build at Dale Power Station in Kentucky

  • Biofuels Group members Jack Groppo, Michael Wilson, and Andy Placido began construction of the algae photo-bioreactor at the Dale Power Station in Clark County. This project scales up algae to convert CO2 to biomass from greenhouse to a similar, but larger, operation at the Dale Station - (Video: Algae Carbon Capture).
  • The CAER Advisory Board met November 9th to review the Center's technical, administrative, and financial progress.

Neville Pinto

  • University of Louisville's Dean of the Speed School of Engineering, Neville Pinto, met with Rodney Andrews, discussed collaborations, and toured the labs.
  • The annual meeting of the Combustion Management Research Group (CMRG) took place this fall. CMRG is an industrial-governmental-academic consortium, which is partnering with CAER to carry out research and development of carbon management research for coal burning power plants. Photo.

Locust Grove School

  • Sarah Mardon (regional representative), Bree McCarney (energy club coordinator), and Madison Sewell (a teacher from Henderson County High School with whom Sarah is working) toured the new public school, Locust Trace, and learned about the project from one of the engineers and one of the architects involved. They viewed school solar panels, solar tubes, rain gardens, and other energy efficient features. Afterwards, they toured Berea College's Ecovillage and SENS center and talked with manager Richard Olson about Berea's projects. These are potential places for the energy club students (college and high school) to tour.
  • Courtney Fisk visited Scott High School in Taylor Mill, KY to conduct informal focus groups with high school students to gather information for the Short Form Video Grant on energy education.

UK Interactions

  • CAER Director Rodney Andrews and Shiela Medina met with College of Design Dean, Michael Speaks to discuss current and future collaborations.
  • Rodney attended the Mining Engineering Foundation meeting at the Boone Center and the UK Centers' and Institutes' directors' meeting in November.

Kentucky Energy Club Logo

  • UK Chapter of the Kentucky Energy Club held a panel discussion on energy at Memorial Hall in early December. Around 100 people turned out to hear a diverse panel discussion on energy. Speakers gave short, five-minute presentations on energy in their respective fields, after which general discussions and Q & A from the audience took place. The goal of this event was to educate students, faculty, and the public on energy issues with the help of professionals in the energy field.

The featured panelists were:

  • Stacy Closson - Patterson School - Energy in National Security
  • Jeff Fugate - Greenthumb/MACED - Environmental Management/Policy
  • Jack Groppo - Energy Club/CAER-Coal Technologies/Research
  • Gregory Luhan - College of Design - LEED, Green Architecture/Design
  • Tim Taylor - College of Engineering - Policy/Econ of Generation Plants & Technology

Meetings and Special Presentations

  • Rodney Andrews was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club Meeting of Henderson. Shiela Medina and Sarah Mardon also attended. This was part of Henderson's energy week events. While in Henderson they also met with Judge Executive Hugh McCormick to discuss how CAER can support the western region of the state.

American Carbon Society Logo from website

  • Rodney was the Graffin Lecturer at West Virginia University and UK this fall. Each year the American Carbon Society selects a lecturer who has made distinguished contributions to carbon science and engineering and sponsors this lecture series.
  • Sarah exhibited at Coal Days in Sturgis, Kentucky, where she interacted with students, teachers, people from industry, and others from academia. She also attended a Kiwanis Club Meeting in Owensboro. The speaker was U.S. Congressman Brett Guthrie.
  • Bree McCarney and Greg Copley promoted the energy club at Campbellsville University and assisted two students there with development of business plans on an energy process.
  • Mark Crocker attended the 2011 KY Agricultural Summit - Bioenergy Symposium, sponsored by the state agricultural council.
  • Greg Copley attended the Big Sandy Industrial Development board meeting and briefly described CAER activities and the regional office presence in eastern Kentucky. He also attended the interim joint subcommittee on energy meeting in Frankfort and listened to presentations on potential CNG/LNG projects.
  • Jeff Mossey and Rodney Andrews attended the statewide EPSCoR Committee Meeting at the University of Louisville in November.
  • Rodney was the featured speaker at the EKU Energy Club meeting in November.

Outside Interactions

Map of USA and China

  • A Kentucky state trade mission and study group visited the People's Republic of China last fall to explore China's rapid development and deployment of advanced Clean Coal Technology (CCT) - as well encourage and support potential KY-China trade in CCTs. The group included: State Secretary of Energy, Len Peters; Don Challman (CAER), and Burt Davis (CAER). Among the destinations were: East China University of Science and Technology, Huaneng Power Group Shidongkou Power Station, and the China Coal & Mining Expo 2011.
  • Matt Weisenberger, Tom Robl, Bob Jewell, and Sarah Mardon (UK CAER) visited primary aluminum smelter, Rio Tinto Alcan in Robards, KY to further discuss topics of mutual interest and benefit. They also toured the plant. Rich Coco, John Gavin, John Catlett were the representatives from Alcan.
  • Matt visited US Army AMRDEC Composites at Redstone Arsenal, (near Huntsville) AL to meet with sponsors. Others included: John Craddock (UK CAER), Rich Foedinger & Devlin Hayduke (MSC) and Keith Roberts, Taylor Owens and Carissa Russell (AMRDEC). Carissa is a former student of CAER now working at AMRDEC.
  • Matt participated in a teleconference with The Southern Research Council on Carbon Fibers and their potential for economic development in the Southeast region of the US, 17 Nov. 2011. Others on the call included representatives from ORNL, NCSU, UT, and Auburn.
  • Lisa Richburg, Jeff Mossey, and Sarah Mardon toured EKU's Craft Environmental Center in December.
  • Rodney attended a Faces of Coal meeting and a separate meeting hosted by the State Chamber of Commerce on "What is the Future of Coal?"
  • Rodney attended the Indiana Center for Coal Technology Research board meeting in Indianapolis. The briefing served as a planning session for future CCTR activities.


  • Sarah Mardon attended Energy Day for a few hundred fourth graders at Henderson Community College, where she observed the activities created for the fourth graders. This is an annual event, sponsored by the Kentucky School Board Assoc., Henderson Insurance, and Henderson County Schools. Activities included: energy activities that showed basic energy-related reactions; materials changes from hot to cold, and demonstrations on how solar energy works. The high school students also performed a play for the elementary students called "Harry Spotter and the Quest for the Right Light." There was also an energy 'Jeopardy' game.
  • Meg Gatten of CEDAR West (Coal Education Development and Resources) and Sarah exhibited at a job fair and presented to two classes of high school students about jobs in the energy industry in Henderson.
  • Researcher Jack Groppo participated in a recent K-12 outing on November 21st, where he taught five sections of 8th grade science classes about energy at the Lexington Traditional Magnet School.
  • Sarah Mardon talked with 3 fourth grade classes about rocks, minerals, and fossils. They also learned about how some rocks (including coal) may be used to generate electricity.


Teaching and Instruction

  • Rodney presented a lecture for Stacy Closson's class on energy security in the Patterson School of Diplomacy. This was followed up on by a tour of the CAER.

Staff/Student Accolades

  • Darrell Taulbee was honored at UK's Commercialization and Economics Development Bench 2 Business Conference for having successfully executed a license agreement in 2011.

USGS Publication

  • Jim Hower was a contributor to a recently released USGS Report. This is a product of the collaboration between the USGS and state geologic surveys and other research institutes, such as the CAER. The power plants represent a broad overview of the types of coal most frequently burned for power generation in the US. The title of the publication is "Geochemical Database of Feed Coal and Coal Combustion Products (CCPs) from Five Power Plants in the United States."

Media Interactions

  • Rodney was interviewed by Trends Magazine and Biodiesel Magazine about the current algae-to-capture CO2 scale up project at the EKPC Dale Power Plant.