VIASPACE Press Release
VIASPACE Announces Giant King Grass in the Philippines - Sagay Central to Extend Power Plant Operation and Sell Electricity to the Grid
October 14, 2014 - Walnut, California - VIASPACE Inc. (OTC: VSPC) today reported that Giant King Grass was shipped to and planted by its partner, Sagay Central, Inc., in Negros Occidental, Philippines. Sagay Central is a sugar milling and sugar growing company in the center of the Philippines sugar industry. It crushes 4,000 metric tons of sugar cane every day and produces 150,000 tons of sugar per year. Sagay Central was founded in 1968 and its products include raw sugar, washed sugar and specialty Muscavado sugar for the domestic market and export.
The Giant King Grass was harvested from the VIASPACE nursery in Southern California. It was inspected by the US Department of Agriculture to meet the conditions of the SPS Import Clearance of the Philippines Department of Agriculture. The US Department of Agriculture found the Giant King Grass to be free of pests and disease, and issued the required phytosanitary certificate. The Giant King Grass planting material was sent by airfreight to Manila where it cleared customs, and then was forwarded by ferry to Negros.
VIASPACE CEO, Dr. Carl Kukkonen, traveled to the Philippines to meet with officials from Sagay Central and to personally oversee the planting of the Giant King Grass.
Sugarcane is crushed or pressed in a series of mills to remove the juice which is then processed into crystalline sugar and molasses. The remaining chopped fibrous sugarcane, called bagasse, is burned in a boiler that produces heat for the sugar making processes and electricity to power the sugar mill. The sugar season at Sagay Central is nine months per year. Other mills only operate six months per year.
Mr. Romie Cortez, President of Sagay Central, Inc. said: "We signed a contract with VIASPACE in 2013. We are happy after some delays to get this important biomass renewable energy project underway. Sagay has a nine-month sugarcane crushing season. We crush about 400 truckloads of sugar cane every day, but we only operate nine months a year. With Giant King Grass, we plan to be able to operate our proposed power plant 12 months per year and provide the excess electricity to the national grid. We also plan to sell Giant King Grass to other sugar mills to do the same. This will expand and diversify our operations and lead to increased profitability. We plan to use our existing sugar mill to press out the juice from the Giant King Grass and create “Giant King Grass bagasse” which we will burn in our boiler.”
Resident Manager, Primitvo Rivera, reported: “Sagay Central has to continually innovate in order to be competitive in this market. We have to do more than just produce raw sugar. There is land near Sagay that is not suitable for sugarcane, and we now plan to grow Giant King Grass on that land. The Philippines needs more electricity, and we believe we can help with this. We presented our plans for Giant King Grass at the Philippines Sugar Technologist Association, Inc. national convention in 2013 and won an award for the best technical paper. The Sagay agronomist is working with Dr. Kukkonen to make sure that the Giant King Grass is planted and grown properly. Initially, we will use Giant King Grass to produce electricity locally, and we have ideas for export as well.”
“I was very impressed with Sagay”, reported Dr. Kukkonen. “They are a very professional operation. VIASPACE will work hard to make them successful. I want to thank Sagay for all their hospitality. I learned many things about operations that are applicable to our other projects around the world.”
VIASPACE Chairman, Dr. Kevin Schewe, commented: “We have been working with Sagay Central since 2013 and we have now seen our joint efforts come to fruition. This relationship is not a “test plot” but is an expansion of business for Sagay to extend their power plant operation to a full 12 months per year and sell excess electricity to the national grid. We know that Giant King Grass will grow well in proximity to sugar cane and Sagay has nearly 46 years of experience in this regard. They also plan to use adjacent lands that are not entirely suitable for sugar cane to broaden their scope of using Giant King Grass for commercial purposes and to increase their overall profitability. VIASPACE will receive long-term license revenues from Sagay’s commercial harvesting of Giant King Grass and we are thoroughly pleased to be working with such a solid company in the Philippines.”
Pictures from Sagay Central in the Philippines 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, Jamaica and the Philippines. 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.
Safe Harbor Statement
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.