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W.Va. firms can enter shale gas technology contest

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A technology contest designed to inspire innovation in the shale gas industry is open to West Virginia companies for the first time.

The Shale Gas Innovation Contest is run by the Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation & Commercialization Center in State College, Pa. It awarded more than $75,000 in prizes last year.

The goal is to help develop environmentally responsible technologies while also creating high-paying jobs.

Anne Barth is executive director of TechConnect WV, one of the groups sponsoring West Virginia's participation.

The contest begins in November, but Barth says the time to prepare is now.

Entrants can focus on anything from extraction and wastewater technologies to environmental and safety products.

In its first two years, the contest was only open to Pennsylvania companies.