Viaspace brings Giant King Grass to the Philippines

Sagay Central, a sugar milling and sugar growing company and partner of energy crop cultivator Viaspace, has shipped and planted Giant King Grass in Negros Occidental, the Philippines.

Sagay Central crushes 4,000 tonnes of sugarcane daily and produces 150,000 tonnes of sugar per year.

The Giant King Grass was harvested from Viaspace's nursery in California, US and inspected by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to meet the conditions of the SPS Import Clearance of the Philippines Department of Agriculture before it was shipped.

The sugarcane is crushed or pressed to remove the juice which is then processed into crystalline sugar and molasses. The remaining chopped fibrous sugarcane (bagasse) is then combusted to generate renewable heat for the sugar making processes and electricity to power the sugar mill.

'We are happy, after some delays, to get this important biomass renewable energy project underway,' says Romie Cortez, president of Sagay. 'With Giant King Grass, we plan to be able to operate our proposed power plant year-round and provide the excess electricity to the national grid. We also plan to sell Giant King Grass to other sugar mills to do the same.'

In other news, Viaspace recently issued a progress report on its 7MW biomass plant located on the island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands (USVI), which will provide the only baseload renewable electricity to the region.

Tibbar Energy will sell power for 25 years with a five year option to the Water and Power Authority. The majority feedstock is from Viaspace Giant King Grass.

Tania Tomyn, Tibbar Energy's CEO, says: 'This is a long-term commercial solution that gives the USVI fossil fuel independence and low-cost power.'

As previously reported, Tibbar Energy was issued a final permit for construction in April earlier this year. Those permits are now 90% complete and the final design and modifications are underway before construction starts at the beginning of 2015.

Viaspace chairman Kevin Schewe comments: 'The project with Tibbar Energy to use Giant King Grass as a dedicated, renewable, green energy crop for renewable electricity production on St. Croix is continuing to move ahead. This model creates local jobs, provides green, baseload electricity and brings multiple related benefits to waste management.'

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