WALNUT, Calif., Sept. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- VIASPACE Inc. (OTCQB: VSPC) CEO, Dr. Carl Kukkonen, today provided an update on recent company business activities. This second of three updates covers the Giant King Grass nursery in California and activities in Hawaii. It complements a previous company update issued on September 4, 2013. A future third CEO update will cover business activities and opportunities in Southeast Asia.
Dr. Kukkonen reported, "The VIASPACE Giant King Grass propagation nursery and test plot in California is ready to harvest for propagation material (Giant King Grass seedlings) to be sent to customers. The Giant King Grass was cut on March 10, 2013 and is now six months old. It is about 14 feet tall and is fully mature for propagation. We conducted a germination test at five months old and obtained 100% germination which is outstanding."
Kukkonen continued, "The nursery is also a demonstration plot that potential customers can visit to see the Giant King Grass in person. Although we show pictures of Giant King Grass and it can be seen on our website, seeing it in person reveals the full power and effect. The canopy is fully closed and when you walk inside, you cannot see the California sun. The closed canopy prevents weeds from growing amongst the Giant King Grass without the need for herbicide. The plants are racing each other to get to the sun and get very tall. During the last few months we have had visits from potential customers from Central America, the Caribbean, Philippines, India, Pakistan and the US. The nursery is not open to the public, but only to serious potential customers that have signed nondisclosure agreements."
"In addition, we recently announced results of independent and third-party testing that show when Giant King Grass is cut frequently at 4-5 feet tall, it is an excellent, high protein animal feed. The testing data demonstrate that Giant King Grass is very similar in nutritional value to oat hay. We have just recently expanded our California Giant King Grass nursery with additional land dedicated to further develop, implement and support our animal feed business line. This is an important new aspect of our overall business strategy to accelerate and augment our sources of revenue."
"Giant King Grass has been grown by the US Department of Agriculture and declared to be free of pest and disease, and approved for distribution throughout the United States, and for export to other countries. When Giant King Grass is exported, the US Department of Agriculture inspects the shipment at our California nursery and issues a phytosanitary certificate. Giant King Grass has been sent from our nursery in California to St. Croix in the U.S.Virgin Islands, Nicaragua, South Africa, Hawaii and to other locations."
"For those of you who have been to Hawaii, you will remember that there is a form that you have to fill out on the airplane declaring if you are carrying any agricultural items. This is because the Hawaiian Islands are very careful not to let in any new pests or invasive agricultural species. To get Giant King Grass into Hawaii, it has to be grown in their quarantine facility under supervision of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture for one year. It does not make any difference that the mainland USDA grew and approved Giant King Grass under their supervision, to get approval in Hawaii, it takes another year. VIASPACE made arrangements with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and began growing Giant King Grass in quarantine on December 20, 2012."
"The quarantine facility is a one-story building surrounded by a water moat to prevent crawling insects from getting in. The door enters into a small vestibule painted black with another door admitting entry into the facility itself. This two step entrance process is meant to prevent flying insects from getting inside. Within the facility, there are separate rooms for each species. Our room is about 10' x 13' with a 13 foot ceiling that is a translucent plastic. Two sides are screened and air can get in. The room was sterilized and the Giant King Grass was planted in 5 gallon containers. The Department of Agriculture waters the plants according to our schedule, but does nothing else. VIASPACE does the maintenance including fertilization."
Kukkonen continued, "It is not an ideal growing situation because there is no direct sunlight and only partial diffuse sunlight. This could significantly inhibit the growth of Giant King Grass. Secondly, Giant King Grass is supposed to be harvested twice per year whereas the quarantine is for a full year. Third, the grass is planted in 5 gallon containers rather than in the earth-- they are root bound. Despite these limitations, the Department of Agriculture notified us that the Giant King Grass was literally hitting the ceiling. Last week, I went and cut the grass and did a propagation of new Giant King Grass. The grass is doing well and there are no pests or disease. We expect that the Giant King Grass will be released from quarantine in three months on December 19, 2013. The seedlings from the Giant King Grass soon to be released from quarantine, represent the future of VIASPACE in Hawaii."
"While I was in Hawaii, I met with potential customers who are developing projects for biomass electricity. One important thing I learned was that the Hawaiian government is trying to resurrect the agriculture sector in Hawaii. There is only one operational sugar plantation remaining of the many great plantations of the past. Pineapple is virtually gone. At one time the Hawaiian Islands raised a great number of cattle and this business is almost gone as well. Pig farming is active, but declining. The food for the pigs is imported from the mainland which is very expensive. The few remaining cattle graze on pasture and then are sent to the cattle feed operations on the mainland to gain enough weight to be sold. There are many great opportunities for Giant King Grass to be used as animal feed and as an energy crop in Hawaii."
"I attended the Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and VIASPACE exhibited at the Expo. Hawaii Governor, Neil Abercrombie, gave the opening speech. He was very passionate and articulate about the need for renewable energy in Hawaii. He said that the electricity price of up to $0.40 per kilowatt hour was the highest of anywhere in the United States, and that Hawaii was totally dependent on expensive, imported oil. He specifically called out biomass electricity in addition to solar and wind as good alternatives for Hawaii. The Summit and Expo gave VIASPACE great exposure and produced several new leads and potential partnerships."
Kukkonen concluded, "Our propagation nursery and test plot in California is an extremely valuable asset. It is both a sales showroom and a source of Giant King Grass seedlings for customers interested in bioenergy projects and/or animal feed applications. Hawaii presents an exciting and new opportunity for VIASPACE as well and it is very timely that we entered quarantine last year. We will have Giant King Grass available to actively pursue and implement business opportunities in Hawaii in December."
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 clean energy crop that does not compete with or displace food production. 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, 2012, and other factors over which VIASPACE has little or no control.
SOURCE VIASPACE Inc.