Today before the opening bell, VIASPACE reported that CEO Dr. Carl Kukkonen met with Grain Hill CEO and Board President, Amilcar Ybarra-Rojas, and his team in Nicaragua last week. VIASPACE is a contract with AGRICORP, a Grain Hill subsidiary, and is growing its Giant King™ Grass on land owned by them. The Giant King Grass is growing well, and VIASPACE and AGRICORP have agreed to form a partnership to build a 12 MW biomass power plant fueled by the proprietary energy crop.
Grain Hill is a diversified agro-industrial business group engaged in the following food-related businesses: growing rice, food processing, rice milling, and distribution of its own 12 brands of rice, value-added food products, and third-party brands. The company generates annual revenues of $300 million and has operations in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and El Salvador. Grain Hill/AGRICORP is the largest rice company in Nicaragua with 65% market share.
Giant King Grass is currently being grown on a 10,000-acre AGRICORP farm near Lake Nicaragua. Now that Giant King Grass has proven itself on the AGRICORP plantation, VIASPACE and AGRICORP plan to expand the nursery in May to support the 2,100-acre Giant King Grass plantation needed to fully fuel the 12 MW power plant.
According to today’s press release, VIASPACE and AGRICORP plan to begin development of the power plant project immediately. VIASPACE anticipates a quick return to Nicaragua to kick off the partnership and to join AGRICORP in meetings with electricity customers, the Nicaragua grid company, EPC contractors, banks, and with Nicaraguan government officials.
VIASPACE CEO Dr. Carl Kukkonen stated, “This is a very exciting partnership. VIASPACE will take the lead in project development, Giant King Grass, power plant technology selection, and financial modeling. AGRICORP will lead the interface with the power customer, grid connection, plantation operations and plant permitting. The companies will work closely together and expect to form a special purpose company for the power plant.”
Grain Hill CEO and Board President, Amilcar Ybarra-Rojas commented, “We believe that Giant King Grass has an important role to play in Nicaragua. The new, highly efficient 12 MW power plant will provide clean and steady base power for the country in contrast to intermittent power from wind and solar. It will efficiently use Nicaragua’s natural resources of land, warm weather and water to produce reliable green electricity for our people and industrial development. It will also provide jobs for farmers and power plant workers. Giant King Grass as a dedicated energy crop can also complement sugarcane bagasse as a fuel for existing power plants connected to sugar mills to extend their season and produce more electricity. I believe that this project will add considerable value to our company that has a mandate for agricultural innovation and sustainability.”
For more information on VIASPACE and its Giant King Grass, visit www.VIASPACE.com
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