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Grant powers alternative energy project


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POSTED: Monday, October 27, 2008

HILO » The nonprofit Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council has received a $686,000 grant from the federal government to develop an alternative energy power generator while also training unemployed workers, U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono announced last week.

The Big Island needs workers who know how to construct alternative energy devices, said George Yokoyama, leader of the economic opportunity council.

An initial class of 20 workers will be trained at Hawaii Community College, building a “;hybrid”; electrical generator that is partly solar powered and partly fueled by biomass such as eucalyptus wood, Yokoyama said.

The generator is the brainchild of Yokoyama's volunteer science consultant, Max Goldberger, who said the heart of the generator will be a heat-absorbing vacuum tube. Such tubes already are produced in Great Britain, Germany and China, Goldberger said.