Work Has Begun on New Energy Research Facility at UK

by Brenna Angel, Kentucky Public Radio

The University of Kentucky’s Center for Applied Energy Research has begun work on a facility that could someday lead to changes in where and how the U.S. fuels transportation needs. Center director Rodney Andrews says the $5.7 million building will serve as a process development unit.

“It’s a facility that’s designed and built around doing more larger demonstration-scale work on some of the chemical processes involved in converting coal and coal-biomass mixtures into alternative fuels,” he said.

Andrews says the large box-like structure will allow researchers to demonstrate gasification and gas cleanup on an industrial scale.

“What this can change is development of these technologies in a more efficient way and a way they have a smaller environmental footprint could allow the United States, and in particular Kentucky, to reduce the amount of fuels we’re importing,” he said.

Kentucky Congressmen Hal Rogers and Geoff Davis spoke at the facility’s groundbreaking ceremony today, saying the country needs to reduce its dependence on foreign oil. The facility is funded largely by the U.S. Department of Energy with additional financial support from the state Energy and Environment Cabinet and UK.