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KREC Project Descriptions (2005-2007)




From 2005 through 2007 KREC supported seven research projects conducted by faculty from the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky that focused on developing resource-responsible technologies and practices specific to the energy sector. The former Governor's Office of Energy Policy (currently the Department for Energy Development and Independence) provided cost share support.  (Note: The project lead is the first person listed of the project directors cited.)




Development of an Ethanol Pilot Scale Facility to Evaluate the Effect of Collection, Storage and Pretreatment of Corn Stover (UK/U of L) $173,627 $46,362 $219,989 Dr. Michael Montross
Dr. Czarena Crofcheck
Dr. Scott Shearer
Dr. Sue Nokes
Dr. Eric Berson

The overall goal of this research is to reduce the cost of corn stover as a feedstock to a biorefinery by reducing collection, handling and storage costs and increasing the efficiency of pretreatment, enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation into value-added fuels and chemicals. The project will allow for the evaluation of corn stover, a residue available on Kentucky farms, to be converted to a higher value product in rural communities.

Development of an Integrated Solar Heat Pipe System for Improving Building Energy Efficiency (U of L) $162,531 $39,483
$202,014 Dr. M. Keith Sharp
Dr. Ellen Brehob

This project encompasses the development of a solar heat pipe system particularly suited to climates, such as Kentucky, with moderately cold and moderately sunny winters. The system transfers energy into the building on sunny days and avoids losses during the night and cloudy days by using heat pipes, which have the ability to transfer heat in one direction only with virtually no losses in the reverse direction. Compared to traditional passive solar heating systems, the solar heat pipe system provides a greater improvement in efficiency in Kentucky’s cloudy climate than it does in sunny climates.

Differentiating Microbial Pathway and Membrane Adaptations for Enhanced Performance in Extreme Environments (UK) $160,763 $51,389 $212,152 Dr. Sue Nokes
Dr. Barbara Knutson
Dr. Herbert Strobel
Dr. Bert Lynn

Few bacteria can convert biomass to ethanol directly, but C. thermocellum has this ability. However, to be commercially viable, this microorganism must tolerate more ethanol in the fermentation broth. This project will explore natural adaptations this organism has made to ethanol in order to use this information to further improve the organism.

Novel Catalytic Approaches for Bio-Oil Upgrading (UK) $101,083 $27,302 $128,385
Dr. Czarena Crofcheck
Dr. Mark Crocker

Crude bio-oil, which can be obtained from the thermal processing of biomass, is a potential renewable replacement for crude petroleum oil. However, it is not stable for long periods of time, which makes it difficult to store and transport. The objective of this project is to examine two novel processes to increase the stability of bio-oil so that it can be shipped to refineries for conversion to fuels and chemicals.

Photocatalysts for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Production (U of L) $314,280 $62,856 $377,136 Dr. Gerold Willing
Dr. Mahendra Sunkara
Dr. Thomas Starr

This project, which provides seed funding for a new research initiative, looks at a new, low-cost solar cell with dramatically improved efficiency. The solar cell technology that is proposed here, if successful, could be used for generating electricity or for producing hydrogen from water. It would also be scaleable for household use and commercial application.

Production of Biomass Briquettes as an Alternative Fuel Source (UK) $125,759 $35,698 $161,457 Dr. Michael Montross
Dr. Darrell Taulbee
Dr. Rodney Andrews
Dr. Scott Shearer

The goal of the project is to produce a durable briquetted biomass fuel from agricultural and wood wastes that is an attractive alternative energy source for coal-fired boilers for industrial process heat and steam generation, and could potentially be utilized in residential applications. Corn stover, fescue and wood waste will be investigated as feedstocks for the briquettes.

Weather Responsive Ventilation for Residential Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality (UK) $109,988 $31,873 $141,861 Dr. Donald Colliver
James Bush, MS EIT

Between one-third and one-half of the cost of heating and cooling a well-insulated house is due to air leaks. Indoor air quality concerns become important when buildings are built tighter to reduce these leaks in order to reduce the heating and cooling bills. This project will determine the optimal amount of air to bring into the house in order to maintain adequate indoor air quality while minimizing the energy used for ventilation. It will then develop and test a prototype fan control system, which will adjust the amount of ventilation in the house. The control will be based on outside temperature and wind velocity.

TOTALS $1,148,031 $294,963 $1,442,994
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