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New technology could turn coal into liquid fuel

New technology could turn coal into liquid fuel

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A biomass energy project was awarded $2.5 million in a congressional earmark that Utah Sen. Bob Bennett included in a pending federal budget bill.

Viresco Energy LLC is a company headed by a southern California real-estate developer who owns a ranch in Alton in southern Utah, where Jim Guthrie proposes to turn wood waste, manure or coal into 40 barrels of fuel a day.

The U.S. Department of Energy says the new technology holds some promise but that it wasn't endorsing this $25 million project.

Bennett's office says it did some diligence before sponsoring the taxpayer-funded item.

The University of California at Riverside says it's transferring technology rights to Viresco for the pilot plant.

Alton Coal Development, which is opening a strip mine, says it isn't immediately committing to supplying Guthrie's project with any coal.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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