VIASPACE Inc. provides an update on electricity projects being pursued by VIASPACE and partners around the world. Several of the projects have been publicly discussed previously and some are new projects. All of the projects have customer sensitivity and some are completely confidential at the request of the customers. The confidential projects will only be described at a high level.
Biomass electricity projects using Giant King Grass as the fuel have many unique and favorable characteristics.
- Renewable energy -- Giant King Grass is a high-yield perennial crop that regrows after cutting and is harvested 2 to 4 times per year for energy.
- Provides 24 hour-per-day, reliable base electricity throughout the year. Other renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are intermittent sources that cannot be relied upon continuously.
- Does not require oil backup electricity to compensate for intermittency.
- Carbon neutral -- Direct combustion of Giant King Grass or burning biogas releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Plants breathe carbon dioxide and the regrowth of the Giant King Grass re-absorbs the same amount of carbon dioxide that was emitted.
- Money stays in the country. In most cases, Giant King Grass replaces imported oil or coal. Growing in country means that the money stays in the country rather than going overseas to pay for oil.
- Creates jobs -- the Giant King Grass plantation creates needed rural agricultural employment in addition to employment at the power plant.
These are important factors for all of our customers. A major negative factor for renewable energy over this recent year has been low oil prices. Many developing countries depend on oil for their electricity. In mid-2014, Giant King Grass electricity was at a much lower price than oil electricity. Today, oil electricity is less expensive than biomass, solar and wind. Electricity producers recognize that oil is not likely to stay at a low price for the 25 year life of a power plant, but they are profiting from the low oil prices while they last. The recent climate conference in Paris has brought new emphasis on clean renewable energy and this is very encouraging.
Current Giant King Grass power plant projects fall into two types. One method is direct combustion, which produces heat that boils water to make high-pressure steam which turns a turbine connected to a generator which makes electricity. The other method is anaerobic digestion which uses a biological process to convert Giant King Grass into a methane rich biogas which is burned in an engine that turns a generator to make electricity. Direct combustion projects range from 10 MW to 35 MW and even higher. Typical anaerobic digestion projects are from 1 MW to 7 MW.
Direct Combustion Power Plant Projects
- Energia Reino Verde in Nicaragua is a 12.3 MW project co-located with a 2,100 acre Giant King Grass plantation that is part of a larger 10,000 acre rice plantation. VIASPACE is co-developing this project with prominent Nicaraguan partners. The project has received a letter of intent from two international development banks which are working together to provide for 70% debt financing, and the Nicaraguan partners will arrange the majority of the equity financing. The boiler technology has been selected and an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract has been signed. Giant King Grass has been growing in Nicaragua for more than two years. The project is ready to go and is awaiting approval from the Nicaraguan government.
- VIASPACE was retained by a customer to conduct a prefeasibility study to essentially reproduce the Nicaragua project in Africa. The prefeasibility study was completed and the customer has indicated that they plan to pursue the project. VIASPACE will provide the Giant King Grass and training for their 2,100 acre plantation.
- Another customer has contracted for a formal feasibility study for a 35 MW Giant King Grass power plant and 6,400 acre Giant King Grass plantation. A draft feasibility study has been delivered to the customer and the final product will be delivered in January 2016. This project is in the Americas.
- VIASPACE is at an earlier stage in providing information for potential projects in Asia and Africa.
Biogas Power Plant Projects
- Tibbar Energy USVI, LLC is developing an anaerobic digestion (AD), renewable energy facility that will produce a Net of 7MW of base load power that will be sold to Virgin Island Water and Power Authority (WAPA) for the next 25 years on the island of St. Croix. The project will provide almost 20% of the island's base load power. Tania Tomyn, the CEO of Tibbar Energy said, "We have just about finished a 4-month full scale pilot giving us our biogas yields and fertilizer management design." The AD facility will produce its own fertilizer for the farm land Tibbar will grow GKG on and provide small farmers on the island of St. Croix with fertilizer for free. Tibbar has been growing Giant King Grass on St. Croix for three years. The project has a fully executed power purchase agreement, and approval from the Virgin Island Public Service Commission (PSC), 27 local and federal permits approved, and the project is in final stages of financial close which is anticipated in early 2016. The carbon neutral project will be a testament to GKG crop production and baseload power production in the Caribbean.
- Clean Energy Solutions Pacific is developing a 2 MW anaerobic digestion power plant in Papua New Guinea. Giant King Grass will be the exclusive fuel. The company has contracted with VIASPACE for a design and engineering study and operations plan of the power plant. These have been completed. The company has a power purchase agreement and is in discussions on the financing of the power plant.
- VIASPACE is pursuing other biogas opportunities in the Americas and elsewhere.
VIASPACE Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Carl Kukkonen, reports, "There are many opportunities for Giant King Grass as a fuel for power plants and as a feedstock for biofuels and biochemicals. The high-yield of Giant King Grass, combined with the logistical and cost advantages of co-location of the power plant and plantation, and continuous just-in-time harvesting, make Giant King Grass the least expensive biomass energy crop. Giant King Grass can also be co-fired with seasonal agricultural waste such as rice straw or sugarcane bagasse. VIASPACE has the ability to deliver an entire biomass power plant solution including the Giant King Grass plantation and the power plant itself which is available from our well-known partners. The recent climate conference in Paris should make zero carbon biomass electricity more attractive. Giant King Grass can also be used to make pellets and bio coal for co-firing with coal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions."
VIASPACE Chairman, Dr. Kevin Schewe, commented, "Zero carbon biomass energy projects have been facing economic headwinds given the recent low cost of oil. We know that oil prices fluctuate and will eventually go up again. On December 12, 2015, 195 countries agreed by consensus to a global climate pact, the Paris Agreement, to reduce emissions as part of the method for reducing greenhouse gas. In the 12-page document, the members agreed to reduce their carbon output 'as soon as possible' and to do their best to keep global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. France's Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, said this 'ambitious and balanced' plan was a 'historic turning point' in the goal of reducing global warming. We are hopeful that this renewed international emphasis on global warming and reduction of CO2 levels will translate into bonafide economic stimulus or carbon credits that will accelerate the attractiveness of our business model for biomass derived electricity. We are making every effort to finalize the projects in our immediate pipeline which will serve as excellent carbon neutral examples for the global community."