VIASPACE to Discuss Giant King Grass as Energy Crop

Joanna Schroeder

cover_2009-071I reported several months ago about VIASPACE’s plans to expand the production of Giant King Grass to be used to produce advanced biofuels. VIASPACE is currently growing Giant King Grass in southern China and pursuing opportunities in other regions and countries. Today, the company announced that their Chief Executive, Dr. Carl Kukkonen, will be making several presentations at the China Agricultural University and the Biofuels and Jatropha Markets Asia conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 29-July 1, 2009. His presentation is entitled, “Giant King Grass: An Energy Crop for Cellulosic Biofuels and Electric Power Plants.”

VIASPACE is developing the technology to create “grassoline” through the production of a fast-growing feedstock called Giant King Grass. This feedstock is able to produce low-carbon cellulosic biofuels as well as can be used as a replacement for coal at the heat source for electricity generating power plants.

According to Kukkonen, “In addition to biofuels, another near-term use of biomass such as Giant King Grass is to simply burn it, instead of coal or oil, in an electricity generating power plant. An existing coal fired power plant can replace up to 30% of its coal with biomass. Co-firing grass with coal can be accomplished by a straightforward modification of existing power plants, which does not require the large capital expense of building a new power plant. This is probably the simplest and cheapest way to reduce net carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. However, new 100% biomass-dedicated power plants are also being built, as there are long-term operating and environmental benefits for biomass power plants, compared to coal-burning plants.”

A detailed article about the process was included in the latest edition of Scientific American magazine. The article’s authors believe that cellulosic biofuels are the most environmentally attractive and technologically feasible near-term alternative to oil and possess advantages, in contrast to first-generation biofuels from corn and other edible feedstock.

biofuels, biomass, Company Announcement