Agribusiness: Giant King Grass as energy crop

VIASPACE Inc., a clean-energy company providing products and technology for renewable and alternative energy, issued the following update on its renewable, low-carbon energy crop, Giant King Grass.

The Giant King Grass crop that was planted in late-April 2009 on 112 acres in Guangdong province is now more than seven feet tall. Most of the crop will be used to produce seedlings for an expected large planting next year. A single Giant King Grass plant can produce 20 to 35 new seedlings each year, which allows geometric expansion of plantings and therefore future harvests.

While Giant King Grass can be harvested and utilized in the first year of planting, maximum yields are achieved in the second and subsequent years. In contrast, other grasses and energy crops, like Jatropha, may take several years before reaching maximum yield.

A Chinese research project to study comparative yields involved planting several types of grass. In a single growing season, Giant King Grass produced a yield 1.7 to 2.7 times higher than switchgrass, miscanthus or giant reed. High yield is a major advantage for Giant King Grass.

Reiterating the results of an independent analysis of Giant King Grass as an energy crop, the China National Center for Quality Supervision and Test of Coal confirmed that Giant King Grass has an energy content of 18.4 MJ per dry kilogram (4402 kcal per kilogram) and is therefore suitable as a renewable feedstock for energy production. The analysis was sponsored by a potential business partner to VIASPACE.

With the potential for supplying Giant King Grass to China's biomass power plant industry, VIASPACE is negotiating to obtain more land in Guangdong province to substantially increase planted acreage.

Due to the competitive characteristics of Giant King Grass, interest in, and demand for, the grass as a renewable energy crop is beginning to increase, and VIASPACE is actively pursuing specific opportunities to grow the grass in other regions throughout the world.

VIASPACE is a clean-energy company providing products and technology for renewable and alternative energy that reduce or eliminate dependence on fossil and other high-pollutant energy sources. The company provides raw material for cellulosic biofuels and develops and markets fuel cell cartridges, products and technology. VIASPACE subsidiary Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Corporation owns a portfolio of fuel cell patents licensed from Pasadena-based California Institute of Technology (Caltech), which manages NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where the direct methanol fuel cell was invented.

TAGS: Alfalfa
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