Algae Greenhouse

2500 square foot commercial-grade greenhouse serves as a proving ground for photobioreactors and provides a temperature-stabilized facility where different algae growing conditions can be tested.

Algae Laboratory Overview (PDF) →


  • Photobioreactor design, construction and operation
  • Photobioreactor integration with power plants
  • Algae cultivation, harvesting and dewatering
  • Algal biomass analysis

Contact Information

Michael Wilson
Research Engineer Senior
Biofuels & Environmental Catalysis


Phone (859)257-0319/255
FAX (859)257-0302

Applied Petrology

Exploring the petrographic and geochemical characterization of Kentucky coals; the interaction of coal petrology with grinding and beneficiation properties; the petrology of carbons; the petrology of coal-combustion by-products, particularly fly ash; and the characteristics of natural and anthropogenic coal fires.

Petrology Laboratory Overview (PDF) →


  • Vitrinite reflectance and maceral analyses of coal
  • Petrographic analysis of mixed coal, coke, tar, and sediments
  • Petrographic analyses of CCBs
  • As well as more unusual analyses, such as the examination of material collected on air filters.

Contact Information

James Hower
Principal Research Scientist


Phone: 859-257-0261
Fax: 859-257-0302

Carbon Spinline

The Carbon Spinline Building contains the largest carbon fiber spinline found in an academic setting anywhere in the world. The 100 foot long spinning line is housed in a 5,000 square foot building. The line was built to this scale to balance the production of meaningful research quantities of precursor tow (up to 1 lb/working day) while minimizing the time and effort needed for line change-over.

Carbon Spinline Overview (PDF) →


  • Spinning polymers into precursors
  • Conversion to carbon fiber
  • Synthesis and applications of carbon nanotubes
  • Polymer processing
  • Activated carbons

Contact Information

Matt Weisenberger
Associate Director


Phone (859)257-0322
FAX (859)257-0220

Catalyst Research Lab

Catalyst research and testing is performed at CAER within the world’s largest open-access catalyst testing lab. Researchers work to define scientific principles involved in catalysis as well as applying these scientific principles to the many applications of catalysts in industry. The lab is particularly well-equipped with 23 CSTR reactor systems and routinely operates reactors from the small bench scale to the pilot-plant scale (6′ x 2″ reactor). It is well equipped with analytical instrumentation for catalyst characterization and product evaluation.


  • 23 CSTR reactor systems
  • Reactors from the small bench scale to the pilot-plant scale
  • Quantities of 1 kg of catalysts are routinely prepared
  • Up to 1 ton of wet catalysts can be prepared when necessary
  • Operating in the fixed bed, fluid bed and slurry bubble column modes

Contact Information

Leslie Hughes
Administrative Research Assistant Principal


Phone (859)257-0253
FAX (859)257-0302

Chemical Thermodynamics Lab

Chemical thermodynamics and mass transfer measurements are conducted in this laboratory. Using state of the art equipment researchers are able to determine critical thermodynamic parameters and mass transfer parameters. Thermodynamics are measured experimentally using a pressurized vapor liquid equilibrium (VLE) apparatus. VLE curves have been widely used for designing and operating guidelines for chemical separation units. From the measurements taken using the pressure cell combined with mathematical modeling various critical thermodynamic parameters can be obtained. These include the partial pressure of various gasses as a function of temperature, enthalpy of absorption, enthalpy of dissolution, and activity coefficients, and Henry’s constant.


  • Capable of measuring critical thermodynamic parameters including:
    • Partial pressure of various gasses as a function of temperature
    • Enthalpy of absorption
    • Enthalpy of dissolution and activity coefficients
    • Henry’s constant

Contact Information

Kunlei Liu
Associate Director


Phone (859)257-0293
FAX (859)257-0302

Corrosion Test Lab

Various capabilities and resources are available in the corrosion test lab including an electrochemical test cell and a traditional long term test cell. The electrochemical apparatus allows the capability of varieties of electrochemical testing useful for studying corrosion rate and mechanism including potentiodynamic polarization, linear polarization resistance (LPR), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and cyclic polarization. The electrochemical corrosion apparatuses include a Gamry Reference 600 Potentiostat/Galvanostat, Electrode Rotator, and a Princeton Applied Research corrosion cell kit (K0047). The lab also has a custom traditional immersion corrosion cell with maximum design pressure and temperature of 250 psi and 200 °C respectively. Microstructure and morphology of sample surfaces can be observed/analyzed by SEM/EDX and XRD. The lab is also engaged in the development of coatings to enhance corrosion resistance and contains electrochemical cells and furnaces to produce coatings with unique properties.


  • Electrochemical test cell
  • Traditional long-term test cell:
    • Maximum design pressure 250 psi
    • Maximum design temperature 200 °C
  • Capable of studying various metrics including:
    • Potentiodynamic polarization
    • Linear polarization resistance (LPR)
    • Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS)
    • Cyclic polarization

Contact Information

Kunlei Liu
Associate Director


Phone (859)257-0293
FAX (859)257-0302

Engineered Fuels Lab

The Engineered Fuels lab produces transportable, high-value fuel briquettes and pellets from low-value or waste fine coal and biomass. Engineered Fuels lab staff has collaborated with state, federal, and industrial partners on numerous briquetting and pelletization projects culminating in two licensing agreements.

Engineered Fuels Lab Overview (PDF) →


  • 1,000-lb/hr roll briquetter
  • Two pan pelletizers
  • 200-lb/hour knife mill dedicated to biomass preparation
  • Controlled-temperature and humidity chambers
  • 30 kw microwave dryer
  • Industrial grade mixers
  • Miscellaneous briquette-durability test equipment

Contact Information

Darrell Taulbee
Research Program Manager


Phone (859)257-0238
FAX (859)257-0302

Mineral Processing Lab

The Mineral Processing Building is a sustained laboratory supporting the development of products and industries that manufacture construction materials from coal combustion by-products (CCB’s) e.g., cements, grouts, wallboard, masonry block, fillers, roofing materials, etc.

Mineral Processing Lab Overview (PDF) →


  • Equipment to prepare, cure, and test mortar, concrete and masonry specimens
  • Extensive aggregate preparation and characterization area
  • Advanced concrete testing instrumentation
  • Apparatuses for curing under a variety of conditions
  • Materials handling equipment

Contact Information

Bob Jewell
Research Program Manager


Phone (859)257-0216
FAX (859)257-0360

Fuels Processing Development

The Fuels Processing Development lab is an integrated coal/biomass-to-liquids (CBTL) standalone facility with a capacity of 1 barrel of fuel per day; and can be used as a test-bed for new concepts at an a ordable level.

Fuels Processing Development Overview (PDF) →


  • A coal/biomass gasifier for syngas production with a rated feed capacity of 1 ton/day
  • Water-gas shift reactor for adjustment of H:CO ratio
  • An amine-based stripper/scrubber and carbon bed system for gas cleaning and conditioning
  • A micro-channel Fischer-Tropsch reactor with a production capacity of 1 barrel per day of liquid fuels
  • A hydrocracker to crack the heavier fractions and optimize diesel yields

Contact Information

Andy Placido
Research Engineer Senior


Phone (859)257-0223
FAX (859)257-0302

Renewable Fuels Lab

The Renewable Fuels Lab is dedicated to developing improved processes for biomass use, and thereby supporting the burgeoning biofuels industry in Kentucky. The Commonwealth is well-positioned to become a leader in biofuels production. The state’s abundance of natural resources, including forestry wastes and agricultural residues, in addition to crops such as corn and soybeans, offers a huge resource of biomass.


  • Autoclave reactors
  • Gas Chromatography (GC)
  • Gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS)
  • GC/Simulated distillation

Contact Information

Mark Crocker
Associate Director, Biofuels & Environmental Catalysis


Phone (859)257-0295
FAX (859)257-0220

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