Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Governor Fletcher Announces $295,000 Investment in Seven Energy Research Projects for Kentucky

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, March 08, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker
Troy Body

Chris Gilligan

Project Secures an Additional $1.13 Million in Federal Funds

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher announced today the awarding of grants totaling $295,000 for energy research and development in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency by the Kentucky Office of Energy Policy. These awards will yield $1.13 million in federal matching funds from the Kentucky Rural Energy Consortium (KREC). 

“In his State of the Union Address and in the Advanced Energy Initiative, President Bush clearly states that America must reduce its dependence on foreign sources of energy,” said Governor Fletcher. “Through this investment, we are positioning Kentucky and our research universities to play a vital role in meeting the President’s energy goals.”

The seven research projects will be conducted by faculty from the University of Louisville (U of L) and the University of Kentucky (UK) and will focus on developing resource-responsible technologies and practices. The projects include:

  • Improve the use of corn stalks as an ethanol feedstock;
  • Research solar heating systems specific to Kentucky’s climate;
  • Adapt bacteria to improve the production of ethanol;
  • Improve the production of fuels and high-value chemicals from biomass;
  • Develop nanomaterials to produce electricity and hydrogen from water and the sun;
  • Develop an economical process to produce biomass briquettes for industrial boilers;
  • and Develop a residential ventilation system that reduces energy use and improves indoor air quality.  

“This shows how university-based research can reach out and touch the lives of every Kentuckian," said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. “These innovative, energy-related projects, which will be conducted by researchers at UK and the University of Louisville, will position Kentucky as a leader in cutting-edge, environmentally-friendly energy research.  It is also a great example of how the state's two leading research universities can work alongside government officials to have a real impact on the Commonwealth.”

”This consortium offers a great chance for Kentucky to improve its energy efficiency and expand its renewable energy research while helping the state's economy at the same time,” said Shirley Willihnganz, University of Louisville provost. “By collaborating, we can all do a better job of tackling the energy problems facing Kentucky's businesses, communities and citizens.”

KREC’s funding was secured by Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Jim Bunning through a federal appropriation to the University of Louisville that established and organized KREC in collaboration with the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Office of Energy Policy (KOEP). The Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center (KPPC) at U of L’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering serves as KREC’s clearinghouse and provides support for ongoing activities of the consortium members.

“I appreciate the work of Senator McConnell and  Senator Bunning to invest in Kentucky’s energy research capacity at our state research universities and look forward to my administration continuing to work with them and other members of the congressional delegation as we focus on Kentucky’s and our nation’s energy future,” Governor Fletcher said.

This announcement reflects several of the recommendations within Kentucky’s comprehensive energy strategy: Kentucky’s Energy – Opportunities for our Future. Governor Fletcher issued the state’s first comprehensive energy strategy in February 2005. It contains 54 recommendations to guide the commonwealth’s policy making as it relates to energy.

KOEP provided state funding through the Energy Research, Development and Demonstration program, which was established in 2005.  The program is intended to increase energy research performed at Kentucky’s public universities, encourage information exchange between the universities and private industries and aid the state’s universities in leveraging research funding from federal and private sources.

A copy of Kentucky’s comprehensive energy strategy can be found at