California energy crop company Viaspace's Giant King Grass made into energy pellets by pellet mill equipment manufacturer as part of equipment test run and to provide sample pellets
July 5, 2011
– To Validate Supplier Equipment, Provide Samples & Test Results to Customers
VIASPACE Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: VSPC), a clean energy company growing Giant King™ Grass as a low-carbon, renewable biomass crop and its subsidiary VIASPACE Green Energy Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: VGREF), today reported that Giant King Grass was made into energy pellets by a large pellet mill equipment manufacturer as part of a test run to validate the equipment, and to provide pellet samples for potential customers.
The Giant King Grass pellets are 7 millimeters in diameter with lengths between 17 and 45 millimeters. The physical quality is excellent. The pellets were tested by well-known SGS North America Inc., Mineral Services Division which determined the gross calorific value of Giant King Grass pellets to be 7724 BTU/dry lb which is equal to 18.0 GJ/ dry kilogram or 4300 kcal/kilogram. This is a very good energy density. Pictures of the Giant King Grass pellets can be found at www.VIASPACE.com and www.VIASPACEGreenEnergy.com.
It was previously announced that VIASPACE and General Biofuels have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a large Giant King Grass Plantation and a 250,000 to 400,000 ton per year biomass pellet plant in the Dominican Republic. The pelletization and testing of Giant King Grass was performed as part of this project.
The target customers for sustainably grown Giant King Grass pellets are coal-fired power plants initially in Europe that are committed to reducing their carbon dioxide emissions by replacing up to 20% of coal with biomass. Plants breathe carbon dioxide like people breathe oxygen. The carbon dioxide emitted when burning biomass is simply reabsorbed during the next crop growth. VIASPACE and General Biofuels are in discussions with several European utilities for long-term offtake agreements.
The attitudes of electric utilities in the United Kingdom towards biomass are similar to those expressed by Drax plc Chief executive Ms. Dorothy Thompson in an article in the Yorkshire Post Leeds on May 26, 2011. Drax produces about 7% of the electricity in the United Kingdom using 90% coal and 10% biomass. Ms. Thompson said: "Biomass has significant potential to deliver an attractive renewable electricity to meet the Government's ambitious targets for 2020 and beyond. It's low carbon, low cost and low risk... Our ambition is, if the correct support is put in through the current (government) review, that within five to seven years we will predominantly be a biomass-fired power station"... She wants Drax to "change from being one of the largest carbon emitters in western Europe in terms of a single facility to become one of the largest renewable plants in the world; we would see that as a real achievement." Ms. Thompson said the case for biomass is "compelling", particularly at facilities like Drax, which were built for coal-fired electricity generation.
The European pellet market was discussed by John Keppler, CEO ENVIVA in a presentation at the International Biomass Conference on May 3, 2011. In 2009, the European pellet market was 10 million tons per year and is expected to reach 30-60 million tons by 2016. This represents a $5-$10 billion a year market based on today's pellet prices of $170 US per ton. Currently the European pellet market is almost all sawdust and wood waste pellets, primarily from Scandinavia. By 2016, the pellet production shortfall in Europe is expected to exceed 15 million tons per year and these pellets will be imported from the Caribbean, the Americas and Africa.
VIASPACE CEO Dr. Carl Kukkonen stated: "The extremely high yield of Giant King Grass leads to low pellet production costs, and ocean shipping from the Dominican Republic to Europe is manageable. Overall, we expect that we will be able to deliver sustainably grown Giant King Grass energy pellets at a lower cost than the wood waste pellets that are being purchased today. Because Giant King Grass can be harvested 6 1/2 months after planting, we can rapidly serve the pellet marketplace. A new planting of trees takes between 4 and 20 years to harvest so the speed of growth and high yield of Giant King Grass are major competitive advantages."
About VIASPACE Inc.
VIASPACE is a clean energy company providing products and technology for renewable and alternative energy that reduce or eliminate dependence on fossil and high-pollutant energy sources. Through its majority-owned subsidiary VIASPACE Green Energy Inc., the Company grows Giant King Grass as a low-carbon fuel for electricity generating power plants, as a feedstock for bio methane production and cellulosic biofuels such as ethanol and butanol, and for biochemicals and bioplastics. For more information, please go to www.VIASPACE.com or www.VIASPACEGreenEnergy.com or contact Dr. Jan Vandersande, Director of Communications, at 800-517-8050 or IR@VIASPACE.com.