VIASPACE Press Release
VIASPACE Announces Giant King Grass Developments and Progress in Hawaii (Part I)
September 22, 2014 - Walnut, California - VIASPACE Inc. (OTC: VSPC) today reported that CEO, Dr. Carl Kukkonen, met with potential Giant King Grass customers in Hawaii. Dr. Kukkonen also attended the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit held in Honolulu September 15-17, where he gave an invited presentation at a special conference track on Agricultural Innovation.
On March 17, 2014, VIASPACE announced that Giant King Grass was released from the mandatory one-year quarantine on Hawaii after the Hawaii Department of Agriculture found it to be free of pests and disease. Giant King Grass is currently growing well in Hawaii, and an update will be provided in a future press release (Part II).
Potential customers included Hawaiian businessmen working to revive agriculture on Hawaii, and also to produce clean energy. Hawaii once had a thriving cattle business. At this time, cattle born in Hawaii are mostly shipped to the mainland for growth and finishing. Pig farming is also important on Hawaii, but much of the pig food needs to be imported from the mainland. There were once 12 sugar mills in Hawaii. Now there is one sugar plantation and mill located on Maui, and substantial plantation lands lie fallow. Most of the pineapple business has left Hawaii. There is significant underemployment in the agriculture industry.
Dr. Kukkonen reported, “There are business people in Hawaii now working to revive the cattle and dairy industries. Today most cattle are put out to pasture on large ranches which have local grasses such as Guinea grass. The land can support about 50 cattle per 100 acres. Giant King Grass with 10 – 15% protein is higher quality than Guinea grass that has about 5% protein. Giant King Grass also has much higher yield. With proper agriculture, Giant King Grass can support about 400 cattle or dairy cows per 100 acres. Giant King Grass can also be an important part of the diet for sheep, goats, horses and pigs. I believe that Giant King Grass can play an important role in animal feed in Hawaii and other tropical and subtropical regions.”
Hawaii has the highest electricity prices in the US. Much of the electricity in Hawaii is produced from oil which is imported and expensive. Wind and solar electricity are intermittently available and Hawaii has difficulty in providing the backup power which is needed to provide consistent levels of electricity. Currently each Hawaiian island has its own separate grid and there is no undersea power line to make a statewide grid.
Kukkonen continued, “I heard a presentation on an ambitious concept to pump water uphill to a dam during times when there is excess solar or wind electricity. The plan is to then let the water run downhill and produce hydroelectricity when the wind is not blowing or during the nighttime. This is certainly possible, but growing Giant King Grass to fuel a reliable and 24/7 biomass power plant is a simpler and lower cost solution. Pumping water uphill to a dam is the only way to store electricity today on a large scale. It may be feasible in very special areas, but Giant King Grass clean renewable electricity should have much broader applicability. There was also a detailed concept to bring in containers of liquefied natural gas to the big island of Hawaii to replace oil for producing reliable electricity. This is feasible and would be a bit less expensive than oil and natural gas produces less carbon dioxide than oil. Both of these examples illustrate how difficult and expensive it is to produce electricity on island nations.”
“I met with parties that are trying to develop biomass power plants using anaerobic digestion to produce clean bio electricity. They were interested in Giant King Grass as a dedicated energy crop. VIASPACE has just finished another round of extensive testing of Giant King Grass for anaerobic digestion and it is an excellent feedstock to produce biogas. We have action items to provide data to these potential customers.”
Kukkonen also met with potential customers from other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. There are opportunities for Giant King Grass on islands like Guam.
VIASPACE Chairman, Dr. Kevin Schewe, concluded, “We have been very busy in Hawaii since our Giant King Grass was successfully released from quarantine there earlier this year. Giant King Grass is now growing incredibly well in Hawaii and we will be specifically discussing this progress soon. There is a picture of our Hawaiian Giant King Grass standing at our booth at the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and posted on our VIASPACE Facebook page. It takes time to develop a brand new plant/biomass platform and animal feed source in Hawaii, but we have now passed the major hurdles there and are ready for primetime. We have the most perfect solution for renewable biomass energy and animal feed for Hawaii and we are pursuing our business opportunities there.”
The presentation titled: “Giant King Grass: Dual Use Crop-- Animal Feed and Bioenergy” is available on the VIASPACE website www.VIASPACE.com. Pictures from the Asia-Pacific Clean Energy Summit are available on the VIASPACE Facebook page www.facebook.com/viaspaceinc.
About VIASPACE Inc.
VIASPACE grows renewable Giant KingTM Grass as a low-carbon fuel for clean electricity generation; for environmentally friendly energy pellets; and as a feedstock for bio-methane production and for green cellulosic biofuels, biochemicals and biomaterials. Giant King Grass is a proprietary, high yield, dedicated biomass energy crop. Giant King Grass when it is cut frequently at 4 to 9 feet tall is also excellent animal feed. The USDA granted approval for planting Giant King Grass throughout the US and cooperates in exporting by performing the required inspections and issuing the phytosanitary certificate needed for import into foreign countries. Giant King Grass is being grown in California, Arizona, Hawaii, St. Croix Virgin Islands, Nicaragua, South Africa, China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Guyana and Jamaica. For more information, please go to www.VIASPACE.com or contact Dr. Jan Vandersande, Director of Communications, at 800-517-8050 or IR@VIASPACE.com.
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Information in this news release includes forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation, risks outlined in our periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, and other factors over which VIASPACE has little or no control.