VIASPACE Progress in Nicaragua: Plantation Expansion & New Animal Feed Business
WALNUT, Calif., Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- VIASPACE Inc. (OTCQB: VSPC) issued the following update on the Giant King Grass project in Nicaragua.
VIASPACE previously announced that it has entered into a contract with AGRICORP, the largest rice company in Nicaragua, and is growing Giant King Grass on land owned by them. The Giant King Grass is growing well in Nicaragua, and VIASPACE and AGRICORP have agreed to form a partnership to build a 12 MW biomass power plant fueled by Giant King Grass.
In addition to the 12 MW biomass power plant partnership, VIASPACE and AGRICORP have now decided to add animal feed as a second focus to the overall business project in Nicaragua.
VIASPACE CEO, Dr. Carl Kukkonen, visited Nicaragua last week. He spent three days at the Giant King Grass growing site which is part of the Miramontes rice plantation on Lake Nicaragua. The 10,000 acre plantation has approximately 6,000 acres planted in rice and the remaining 4,000 acres are available for growing Giant King Grass. The 12 MW power plant will require a 2,100 acre Giant King Grass plantation. Irrigation is plentiful and is provided from Lake Nicaragua to supplement the natural rainfall.
Giant King Grass was originally planted in Nicaragua in December 2012. It was first harvested in May 2013, and another Giant King Grass field was planted using material propagated from this first harvest. Giant King Grass is not grown from seed, but rather from cuttings similar to the way sugarcane is propagated and planted.
The existing Giant King Grass is being harvested and an additional 29 acres are being planted. The multiplication efficiency of Giant King Grass is extremely high with 1 acre of Giant King Grass able to produce enough cuttings to plant more than 100 new acres every six months.
Dr. Kukkonen reports, "I was there for the harvest, propagation and planting. We are gathering valuable data on Giant King Grass yield, propagation efficiency, and the time and cost required for harvesting and planting. This data is important for the power plant financial model, and for the planning of the full-scale plantation, which must be ready four to six months before the power plant is completed."
"The rice plantation operated by AGRICORP has more than 200 employees and a full range of equipment that we are able to leverage. Two of their top agronomists are working with us on the Giant King Grass plantation. We are pleased with the growth and propagation of Giant King Grass and we are using part of the new planting area for optimization of Giant King Grass cultivation in Nicaragua to maximize yield and reduce costs. Another portion of the new planting area is for producing animal feed which will be a second line of business of the Giant King Grass plantation. We will be harvesting Giant King Grass for animal feed within 90 days and will initially be feeding cattle on the plantation. We will be making green chop, silage and hay. There are 5 million people in Nicaragua and 6 million cattle which illustrates the demand for animal feed. Nicaraguan beef is famous in the region. An animal nutritionist has joined the team. He is designing the Total Mixed Ration (TMR) for the cattle. Because of its high nutritional value, the Giant King Grass not only provides fiber required by the cattle, it can replace a substantial amount of expensive nutritional supplements in the ration which results in a substantially lower overall cost."
VIASPACE Chairman, Dr. Kevin Schewe, commented, "This is an important business step for our partnership with AGRICORP in Nicaragua for several reasons. First, we are creating a combined business model of using Giant King Grass for animal feed in conjunction or parallel with the development of a plantation to fuel a 12 MW biomass power plant. In other words, this business model will generate animal feed revenues in the short term while simultaneously providing Giant King Grass propagation material to establish a biomass plantation that will in turn generate biomass driven electricity revenues in the longer term. We believe that this will be an attractive business model in many parts of the world. Secondly, along with AGRICORP, we will be actively generating animal feed data very quickly which will provide valuable, practical parameters for the continued expansion of our VIASPACE animal feed business line globally. Finally, by working effectively with AGRICORP in Nicaragua, VIASPACE is establishing a positive reputation in the Central America region."
Dr. Kukkonen also held business meetings in Nicaragua and will provide an update on the power plant in the near future.
Pictures from the plantation in Nicaragua 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 clean energy crop. Giant King Grass when it is cut frequently at 4 to 5 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 and Myanmar. 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.