South American pellet plant to use Viaspace Giant King Grass

Viaspace, a grower of Giant King Grass for renewable energy production, has signed a contract with St Lucia, West Indies-based renewable energy firm Emunite Energy Solutions to provide Giant King Grass for its planned 100,000 tonne per year pellet mill in Guyana, South America.

The energy grass was delivered to Guyana and planted on 15-17 April. Viaspace says it received an initial payment, and will receive an ongoing license fee upon production.

'Giant King Grass pellets will be exported to the US and Europe to replace coal in existing coal-fired power plants, thus reducing their carbon dioxide emissions,' reveals Emunite CEO Glenrick White.

'This renewable energy project is good for the global environment, and provides agriculture and industrial jobs in Guyana. This project has received support from the Ministry of Agriculture as well as Go Invest Guyana and is seen as a viable boost not only to employment but also to foreign exchange. We have partnered with a local team to facilitate the provision of alternative employment and promotion of agriculture for the area of Kwakwani, a predominantly logging area.'

Carl Kukkonen, CEO of Viaspace, adds: 'The Giant King Grass, which originated from our nursery in California, was planted in savanna grassland that is adjacent to the rain forest. The Guyana team is confident that rainfall will be sufficient and that additional irrigation is not needed. The planting is only 140 miles from the capital Georgetown and is strategically placed, being very close to the Berbice River where timber is currently exported, and pellets can be easily transported to the river for export.

'The tropical climate of Guyana is ideal for growing Giant King Grass. Near the coast, they grow a lot of sugarcane. However, there are vast areas in the interior suitable for Giant King Grass where nothing of significant economic value is growing now. This represents a large business opportunity for Guyana and for us.'

Concluding, Viaspace board chairman Kevin Schewe says: The current global market volume of demand for biomass pellets is about 16 million tonnes annually and is projected to essentially triple to 46 million tons annually by 2020, representing a total market value of $8 billion (€5.75 billion). Most of the near-term growth is predicted in wood fuel pellet markets worldwide. We know that we have a better solution to this demand. Our Giant King Grass is rapidly and continuously renewable (can be harvested at 15 feet height twice per year in a rainforest climate like Guyana) as opposed to trees which provide a vital environmental canopy and have a long lifecycle.'

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