WALNUT, Calif., June 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- VIASPACE Inc. (OTCQB: VSPC) today announced that CEO Dr. Carl Kukkonen traveled to Nicaragua and Panama to:
- meet with Nicaraguan business partners
- visit the plantation where Giant King Grass has been growing since 2012
- meet with the team conducting the formal power plant feasibility study
- interview potential EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contractors that would build the power plant
- meet with potential financial investors in the power plant project
Kukkonen met with AGRICORP CEO Mr. Amilcar Ibarra Rojas and other principals in Energia Reino Verde (English translation "Green Kingdom Energy"), the special purpose company that will own and operate the 12 MW biomass power plant to be co-located with a 2,100 acre Giant King Grass (GKG) plantation in Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan partners plan to provide substantial equity funding for the project, in addition to the project development funding they have already provided. They are taking the lead in obtaining all government approvals and permits for the project. Energia Reino Verde is a 50-50 partnership of VIASPACE and Nicaraguan partners. VIASPACE CEO Dr. Carl Kukkonen serves as president of Energia Reino Verde.
Giant King Grass has been growing on the 10,000 acre plantation on Lake Nicaragua since 2012. 6,000 acres are planted in rice and the remaining land is available for Giant King Grass. Irrigation from Lake Nicaragua and captured rainfall allows for year-round Giant King Grass production. At the plantation, Kukkonen met with the agronomy team. Giant King Grass is growing well in Nicaragua and individual GKG plants weigh even more than those grown in California demonstrating robust, high-yielding GKG growth in the Nicaraguan environment.
Kukkonen and the Nicaraguan partners met with PELICAN SA, the company conducting the formal feasibility study of the project. The feasibility study team includes experts on electric power and legal/environmental issues in Nicaragua, a power plant engineer from the US experienced in construction and procurement, an expert in connecting to the electrical grid, a sugarcane plantation expert, and the person who built and operated the first sugarcane bagasse power plant in Nicaragua. The feasibility study will be completed in September 2014. The purpose of the feasibility study is to confirm that the Energia Reino Verde business plan is both technically and economically feasible, and to recommend any improvements. The feasibility study is an independent third-party assessment that is required by financial institutions and investors.Kukkonen met with four potential EPC contractors that are interested in building the power plant. An EPC contractor guarantees the price, schedule and performance of the power plant. Experience in the Central American region and experience with biomass power plants are important factors in selecting an EPC contractor. These discussions will continue and an EPC contractor will be selected soon after the feasibility study is completed in September.