The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released $500,000 in federal funding that will allow a team from West Virginia University (WVU) to participate in a $1.3 million US-China coal-to-liquids project. The funding will allow WVU scientiststo study the economic and environmental effects of coal liquefaction technology and develop expertise regarding the commercial deployment of advanced coal technology through their participation in the three-year project between DOE and China’s National Development and Reform Commission.Commenting on this: “For too long, the US has let itself grow dependent on oil from the Middle East. We must break that addiction,” US Senator Byrd said in an April 19 press release. “Coal offers us a great opportunity to break the chain of foreign energy dependence. The technology is ready today to convert coal to transportation fuels. It is common sense that we rely on our domestic resources to handle our domestic fuel demands.” He said the funding will allow WVU experts to share knowledge with their Chinese counterparts and gain insights that will help further develop coal liquefaction in the USA. “The Chinese recognize that foreign oil won’t be able to handle that nation’s kingsize energy needs, and, like the US, China is looking to coal as an alternative,” he said.