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General CAER News

  • The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research and the Beijing Research Institute of Coal Chemistry have made a formal agreement to promote education and academic exchanges between the universities. The two organizations will: pursue joint research activities; collaborate on academic publications; host visiting scientists; and exchange graduate and undergraduate students to pursue their studies.

UK Interactions

  • Several CAER staff members attended, exhibited at, and held discussions at the Big Blue Goes Green sustainability showcase.
  • A group of undergraduate students from UK's SEAM (Scholars in Engineering and Management) program visited the center to learn about energy opportunities in the workforce.
  • Rodney Andrews presented on energy research at the UKAN meeting in Frankfort. UKAN (University of Kentucky Advocacy Network) is an advocacy group that seeks to build relationships and communicate with legislators in the Kentucky General Assembly regarding issues of importance to the University of Kentucky and higher education.

Meetings and Special Presentations

Students speak to Interim Joint Committee on Energy

  • Ying Shu (graduate student) and Daniel Ampleford (undergraduate) presented their energy research before a group of state legislators who comprise the Interim Joint Committee on Energy, to illustrate energy projects under investigation by students at UK. Daniel, a chemical engineering student, is in his second co-op semester with the CAER and is working on carbon capture in power plants. His talk was entitled "Post Combustion COS2 Capture Research." Ying came to UK to work with Dept. of Chemistry Professor John Anthony on materials chemistry. Her presentation highlighted the importance of basic research as a means of developing the new materials for addressing energy issues and was titled "High Value Carbon Materials for Energy Generation and Efficiency."
  • Jim Hower chaired five sessions at the International Pittsburgh Coal Conference and was appointed co-chair of the Program Committee for the conference.

Outside Interactions

  • Rodney updated the State Appropriations and Revenue Committee on the House Bill 1 carbon capture and storage projects.
  • Rodney presented a lecture to the staff of the Public Service Commission on carbon capture technology.
  • Rodney Andrews and Shiela Medina were in Henderson, Kentucky on October 23rd to meet with Big Rivers Electric Corporation and again on the 29th to attend the Western Kentucky Energy Workforce Development Meeting.
  • Representatives from Hitachi Power Systems, along with staff from Kentucky's Economic Development Council and the Department of Energy Development and Independence, visited the lab and discussed research collaborations.

June Zhang

  • Professor June Zhang, from China's Southeast University, will be a visiting scientist at the CAER for one year. He teaches thermal engineering in the Department of Energy and Environment at his home university. While at the CAER, he will join researchers in the Power Generation and Utility Fuels Group.
  • Rodney Andrews and Matt Weisenberger traveled to the University of Alicante in Spain to discuss the future of the successful exchange program, attend the master's defense of an Alicante student who had performed research at the CAER, and visit the two UK students who are currently at the university.
  • Shortly afterwards, Helena Varela-Rizo arrived at the Center from University of Alicante. She is a chemical engineering graduate student working for Matt in the Carbon Materials Group until mid-December.

Educational Outreach

Lafayette Students

  • Almost ten years ago, the CAER helped start the Lafayette High School Pre-engineering Program, as part of the educational outreach portion of a National Science Foundation grant. That beginning has come full circle as we recently agreed to provide a research opportunity in our electrochemistry group for two pre-engineering students.
  • The second Energizing Kentucky Conference was held in Louisville on September 18th-19th. The Thursday evening speaker was Thomas Friedman, author of the recent book "Flat, Hot, and Crowded." The next day was spent in panel discussions on energy issues. This is the second of three conferences organized by the presidents of Berea and Centre Colleges as well as the Universities of Kentucky and Louisville to address energy matters important to the state.
  • Rodney Andrews, Bob Rathbone, and Shiela Medina attended a ribbon cutting at the Area Technology Center in Russell, KY, where a curriculum in alternative energy has been established. They discussed potential future partnerships with Doug Keaton, the teacher who developed the energy curriculum.

Teaching and Instruction

  • Kevin Henke is teaching an evening geology class this semester, GLY 530, Low Temperature Geochemistry. B.K. Parekh is teaching Mining and Minerals 301 and 302 in the Dept. of a Mining Engineering as well.

Staff/Student Accolades

Mine Mapping Header

  • CAER's mine mapping group has garnered attention for months. Most recently, the Kentucky Mine Mapping Initiative was the front page story in the summer edition of GIS Mine Post. This was followed by the Kentucky Association of Mapping Professional's Exemplary System Award for 2008, which was presented at the 2008 Kentucky Geographical Information Systems Conference held in Lexington. The CAER group has been headed by John Hiett for 30 years.

Sarah Mardon

  • Sarah Mardon successfully defended her MS in Earth & Environmental Sciences on September 23rd. Jim Hower, longtime CAER petrologist, was her advisor. She is employed as a geologist by the Kentucky Division of Water. She worked in the CAER's petrology group as both an undergraduate and graduate student.

Proposals and Awards

  • The U.S. Dept. of Energy recently announced funding for Fischer-Tropsch research converting biomass-derived syngas, as well as syngas derived from coal and biomass mixtures. (See feature story for more information).