VIASPACE, grower of renewable Giant King™ Grass as a low-carbon fuel for clean electricity generation, today issued an update on the status of Giant King™ Grass growing in South Africa as part of a previously announced project agreement with Selectra CC of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Per the agreement, the first project for Selectra is to remediate and produce energy on land that has been altered by gold mining in South Africa. An adverse effect of the large mining industry in Africa is slimes dams, composed primarily of crushed rock that has been processed for gold extraction, as well as traces of chemicals and contaminants from the gold processing. Mining companies are responsible for ensuring that these contaminants do not enter into the groundwater; food crops in these areas are not possible because of the contamination in the soil.
As part of the project, Selectra planted Giant King Grass on the slimes dams to evaluate its affect and performance as a windbreak to prevent dust from spreading and to prevent soil erosion, and to add organic matter and help create soil from the crushed rock. Selectra said its goal in this project is to use the Giant King Grass as a feedstock for either anaerobic digestion or direct combustion to produce electricity, thereby creating value from these slimes dams.
“Giant King Grass is growing well on the slimes footprint and we are pleased with the results so far. We are entering a critical phase of the tests as we need to model plant growth during our winter months and the early signs are most encouraging as the plants have continued to grow under the frost covers. In this regard we have extended the trial to December 2013 and thereby having almost 12 months data,” Selectra Commercial Director Dwight Rosslee stated in the press release.
Rosslee continued, “The tests on the tailings are extremely important as Giant King Grass could become our preferred crop on the tailings dams to get the biomass yields we are seeking. Moreover, the tailings dam applications outside of bioenergy are exciting as they are extremely varied from wind breaks, erosion prevention, and dust suppression to land remediation. In addition we will conduct scientific tests to gauge the ability of the plant to take up heavy metals and other contaminants typically found in mine impacted land. We are optimistic regarding our test results thus far and our goal is to use this data to support building biomass power plants to generate electricity from the Giant King Grass.”
VIASPACE Chairman Dr. Kevin Schewe further detailed the anticipated outcome and mutual goal for both companies.
“Selectra is a leading developer of sustainable bioenergy projects in Africa. They are considering both biogas and direct combustion biomass power plants, both of which we have conclusively demonstrated that Giant King Grass is the ideal biomass platform to support. Our mutual goal is for VIASPACE and Selectra to join forces and work together on power plant projects,” Schewe stated. “We at VIASPACE are very pleased that Giant King Grass is now a leading candidate to be used simultaneously to reclaim gold mine affected lands through the process of phytoremediation and then be continuously harvested to create bioelectricity. This is a classic win-win situation of job creation in putting local farmers to work, providing an environmentally sound and green method to restore mine tailings, and in the process, generate carbon neutral electricity for local homes and businesses. We believe that this model can be a resounding environmental and business success.”
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