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Dec. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
VIASPACE Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: VSPC), a clean energy company growing Giant King™ Grass as a low-carbon, renewable biomass dedicated energy crop, and its subsidiary VIASPACE Green Energy Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: VGREF), today announced that an invited presentation on Giant King Grass made by CEO
Carl Kukkonen at the 11th International Conference on Clean Energy held in
TaiwanNovember 2-5, 2011 is now available at the VIASPACE website
www.VIASPACE.com. The presentation "Perennial Grass as a Dedicated Energy Crop" was co-authored by VIASPACE Green Energy President
Sung Chang who also attended the conference. Kukkonen also made a presentation and participated in a panel discussion at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum on Green Growth. Both the conference and the forum were held at Feng Chia University in Taichung,
In addition, The Stock Radio conducted an audio interview with CEO
Carl Kukkonen which can be heard at
The interview is summarized below.
1. In your recent press release entitled "Giant King™ Grass targeted as fuel for planned 90 mw biomass power plant in Thailand", you stated "This is a landmark agreement for VIASPACE", please tell us about this agreement and what it means to VIASPACE?
Our customer, Seema Energy, is planning to build the largest biomass power plant in
Asia. It consists of three 30 MW power plants built in the center of a Giant King Grass plantation. This would be not only the largest biomass power plant, but it would be the first to use a dedicated energy crop as its fuel.
Other smaller biomass power plants have been built in
Thailand, but they use agricultural waste such as rice straw or rice husks as the fuel. The disadvantages of using rice waste are that it is only available after the rice has been harvested and the price varies dramatically with season. There are no long-term contracts for agricultural waste which is only available on the spot market, and the price has been rising. Because of these problems, many of the biomass power plants in
Thailand are operating at only partial capacity and are losing money. Banks are now insisting that any new biomass power plants must have a long-term fuel supply agreement in place before they will finance the project. Giant
King Grass is a dedicated energy crop and solves this fuel supply problem.
The power plant in
Thailand will grow its own Giant King Grass to use as its fuel. Seema initially looked at growing trees as fuel, but rejected that option because the trees took too long to grow and the yield per acre was too low. Giant
King Grass has the highest yield of any plant in the world and it can be harvested twice a year with the first harvest 6 1/2 months after planting. Giant King Grass is a perennial crop. You cut it at 14 feet tall, and 4 to 6 months later it is 14 feet tall again and ready to cut.
Thailand has the perfect climate for growing Giant King Grass. The new government in
Thailand is strongly supporting the agricultural sector and the Giant King Grass plantation is expected to provide more than 2000 jobs.
This project is very important to VIASPACE. It will be one of the first large scale commercial energy applications of Giant King Grass. This Thailand model for a power plant co-located with a Giant King Grass plantation can be replicated many times in
Thailand and throughout the world.
2. The first step then is a test plot in Thailand, can you give us a time line on that and how confident are you of the results?
During my trip to
Thailand, our VIASPACE agricultural expert and I evaluated several candidate sites for the test plot and we took soil samples. We planted a little Giant King Grass while we were there, and we expect that the five-acre test plot will be planted in January.
Based on the climate, soil and the potential for irrigation, we are 99% certain that the test plot will be successful. The objective of the test plot is to demonstrate the growth of Giant King Grass on their land in
Thailand, and more importantly to determine optimum plant spacing, fertilizer and irrigation requirements for production. The test plot will also serve as a propagation nursery to provide seedlings for the large plantation needed for the power plant.
3. The plant will require 930,000 tonnes of Giant King Grass per year, if my sums are right that will require 9,000 hectares (22,500 acres). That's a lot of land, can you tell us your plans in this regard?
The customer is being very conservative and has more land than we believe will be needed. We expect that they will be able to provide all of the required Giant King Grass with 20% less land. This is still a very large farm, but it is only the size of a square 5 miles on each side. The power plant will provide clean electricity for 380,000 households in
Thailand. The high yield of Giant King Grass enables a project of this size to be done on a piece of land that small, and because land costs are so expensive, the high yield is crucial in keeping the fuel and electricity costs down. VIASPACE will be working closely with our partner in
Thailand to make sure that the plantation is in full operation before the power plant is completed.
4. When do you hope to be in full operation?
The power plant takes two years to build. We would begin establishing the Giant King Grass plantation immediately after the power plant contract is signed.