Today before the opening bell, VIASPACE announced that it has entered a project agreement and received initial funding from Selectra CC of Johannesburg South Africa. Dr. Carl Kukkonen, VIASPACE CEO, delivered Giant King™ Grass (GKG) to South Africa, supervised the first planting, and held business meetings with Selectra and their partners.
A leading developer of sustainable bioenergy projects in Africa, Selectra sought out Giant King Grass as a dedicated energy crop. According to today's press release, Selectra is considering both biogas and direct combustion biomass power plants. VIASPACE and Selectra could join forces on other projects in the future.
Selectra secured an import permit from the South African government for the high-yield energy crop. US agriculture officials inspected the VIASPACE nursery in California and witnessed the treatment required by South Africa. The government then issued the phytosanitary certificate stating that the Giant King Grass was free of disease and pests.
The first project from Selectra is to produce energy on land that has been affected by mining in South Africa. There are thousands of hectares of "mine dumps" or more correctly stated slimes dams and mine tailings (the footprint that remains after a slimes dam has been removed for further processing).
Giant King Grass is a candidate crop to remediate mine affected land through the removal of heavy metals by phytoremediation and by returning organic matter into the tailings to make soil. The crop could also reduce dust and erosion on the slimes dams and, as a result, contribute to better health for local communities. Giant King Grass promises to be a truly sustainable solution as the grass is then harvested for bioenergy applications, offsetting the costs of the program.
"South Africa has a good climate for Giant King Grass and we are pleased to be working with Selectra," said Dr. Carl Kukkonen. "We are certain that Giant King Grass will grow well on the unmined land, and are hopeful about the prospects for bio remediation of the mine dumps and tailings. The Giant King Grass test plantings will tell us whether Giant King Grass will grow on dumps and tailings or not. We cannot guarantee the results, but if Giant King Grass can be successfully grown on mine affected land, this will represent another very large market."
Selectra Commercial Director Dwight Rosslee added, "We have grown beets and sorghum on the tailings dams. These are annual crops. We believe that Giant King Grass will have significant advantages because it is a perennial crop that does not require replanting every year, and the root system will deposit organic matter into the soil. If it is successful, we plan to build a biomass power plant to generate electricity from the Giant King Grass. We will have taken a major environmental problem and turned it into a major asset."
VIASPACE Chairman, Dr. Kevin Schewe, commented, "We are genuinely excited about our project with Selectra in South Africa to grow GKG on unmined lands and the new possibility of expanding the role of Giant King Grass for the purpose of phytoremediation and linking that process to carbon neutral bioenergy production. The African Continent represents a large and important market for VIASPACE. We are now growing Giant King Grass and are actively engaged in Africa, Myanmar, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Central America, the United States and elsewhere. We have many exciting projects in various stages of development and we will continue to announce the details of those deals according to our clients' timelines and schedules. Our business is beginning to build upon itself as new clients are regularly contacting us with new projects to evaluate and consider. We are working hard to build a robust and recurring revenue stream to make this company a global leader in the green energy business sector."
For additional information, visit the company's website at VIASPACE.com
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