WALNUT, Calif., May 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- VIASPACE Inc. (OTCQB: VSPC) today announced that CEO Dr. Carl Kukkonen has returned from Nicaragua after a series of business meetings that culminated in the signing of a Joint Development Agreement with Grain Hill/AGRICORP. Under the agreement, a new special purpose company will be established to develop, build, own and operate a 2,100 acre Giant King™ Grass plantation and a co-located 12 MW biomass power plant on the AGRICORP Agricola Miramontes plantation on the shores of Lake Nicaragua. The Joint Development Agreement was signed by Dr. Kukkonen and Grain Hill/AGRICORP CEO and Board President, Amilcar Ybarra-Rojas.
VIASPACE and AGRICORP will be equal shareholders in the new company and lead the development of the plantation and power plant project. Debt and equity financing for the power plant project will be solicited. A brief description of the project and an overview of Grain Hill/AGRICORP are available on the VIASPACE website www.VIASPACE.com.
Project development has already begun. Dr. Kukkonen and AGRICORP personnel met recently with government officials and private companies in Nicaragua. Project development includes obtaining all necessary governmental approvals and licenses, long-term power purchase agreements, debt and equity financing, and a contract with an Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) company to build the power plant.
VIASPACE and AGRICORP have already accomplished the following milestones:
- Giant King Grass was imported from the US and is registered in Nicaragua.
- Giant King Grass is growing at the AGRICORP plantation.
- The AGRICORP plantation has the irrigation and infrastructure for Giant King Grass.
- The preliminary financial model for the Giant King Grass plantation and power plant is in place.
- The sophisticated power plant technology for Giant King Grass has been identified.
- Rice husk and rice straw from the AGRICORP plantation and mill are available as backup and supplementary fuel.
- Major elements of the feasibility study are in place.
CEO Dr. Carl Kukkonen met with US Embassy Commercial, Energy and Agriculture officers in Managua and obtained background information and advice on doing business in Nicaragua. He also met with PRONicaragua which facilitates foreign investment in Nicaragua.
"AGRICORP is a strong and highly respected company," stated Dr. Carl Kukkonen. "I am confident that together we can rapidly bring this renewable, green energy project to Nicaragua. The key to successful financing and operation of a biomass power plant is having a reliable, low-cost source of biomass for the lifetime of the power plant. With our co-located Giant King Grass plantation, we will be growing our own fuel. Furthermore, AGRICORP is already growing and milling rice on the same plantation. The waste products are rice straw and rice husks and these can be burned in the same power plant. We will have the security of both fuel sources."
AGRICORP is a subsidiary of Grain Hill which is a diversified agro-industrial business group in the following food related businesses: agriculture-mainly growing rice, food processing, mainly rice milling, and distribution of its own 12 brands of rice, and value added food products, and third-party brands. It has revenues of $300 million per year with operations in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and El Salvador. Grain Hill/AGRICORP is the largest rice company in Nicaragua.
Grain Hill CEO and Board President, Amilcar Ybarra-Rojas stated, "This is an important project to provide clean, renewable electricity for Nicaragua and jobs for our people. Through our Joint Development Agreement with VIASPACE, AGRICORP is leading the interface with the power customers, grid connection, plantation operations and plant permitting. VIASPACE is taking the lead in project development, Giant King Grass, power plant technology selection and financial modeling."
VIASPACE Chairman, Dr. Kevin Schewe, commented: "Our partnership with AGRICORP is an example of perfect timing. We are actively discussing similar Giant King Grass plantations co-located with power plant projects in several countries around the globe. We believe that our project with AGRICORP in Nicaragua will be an international model that can be scaled and replicated anywhere there is a suitable climate and growing conditions for Giant King Grass. This is the ideal project for VIASPACE because we will receive a license fee for Giant King Grass and also will be an equity partner in the power plant. This is the future and the growth path for our company."
About VIASPACE Inc.
VIASPACE grows renewable Giant King™ 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.