The Department of Energy is putting $5 million into a project to transform manure, sewage, food wastes, and agricultural leftovers into electric power. A pilot plant is expected to process up to 100 tons a day of waste, which will be combined into a low-cost, energy-rich combustible slurry that could be used cleanly in conventional coal-burning power plants and industrial facilities. The bio-based fuel would produce less greenhouse gases than coal and rid communities of waste — and there would never be a shortage of it. Meanwhile, down under in Australia, government-owned Macquerie Generation plans to produce 100 gigawatt hours of electricity over the next 12 months by burning timber industry byproducts such as sawdust and woodchips.