IRVINE, Calif. -- VIASPACE Inc. today provided an update on its business of growing Giant King Grass as a low-carbon, renewable energy crop.

Giant King Grass is being cultivated on company-leased land near Guangzhou in Guangdong province in southern China. Initial harvests have been used as nursery stock to provide seedlings, which have supported expansion of planted acreage to about 250 acres currently. This expanded nursery is capable of providing seedlings that could develop more than 10,000 acres of Giant King Grass fields.

From the initial harvests, samples have been sent to potential customers and partners. Samples have also been used to support the company's product development, and its first Giant King Grass product is expected to be announced shortly.

VIASPACE Chief Executive Dr. Carl Kukkonen stated: "In China, we are directly involved in and control the entire process from land acquisition to manufacturing. We lease the land, hire farmers and other labor, harvest the crops, and manufacture the final product in our new, company-owned factory."

"Considering the rising trend to renewable, low-carbon energy, we are negotiating to obtain more land in China, and we are also seeking to quickly expand outside of China," Kukkonen continued. "Confidential discussions are proceeding with potential partners/customers that need Giant King Grass to fuel their power plants, some of which have land available for setting up Giant King Grass operations in their respective regions. As a result, we are in discussions and meeting with companies from the U.S., Europe, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and other countries."

Kukkonen said that multiple independent analyses conducted by potential customers show that Giant King Grass has excellent energy content of 7,900 BTU per bone-dry pound and also has superior methane production in bio-digesters of more than 1.6 standard cubic feet of methane per pound of fresh grass. Its physical properties are similar to corn straw (stover), and Giant King Grass is suitable to be burned directly in biomass power plants and made into energy pellets that can be co-fired with coal in existing coal-fired power plants. He also said that Giant King Grass can also be used to produce second-generation cellulosic biofuels that do not use food crops such as corn for their feedstock.

Kukkonen remarked that Giant King Grass is an extremely high yielding perennial grass in tropical and subtropical areas. Its yield is much higher than other energy crops, and it can be harvested in the first year, whereas other crops such as miscanthus or Jatropha may take two to four years before harvest. Being a perennial species, Giant King Grass regrows after each harvest and will do so for many years.

"VIASPACE is pursuing joint ventures with well-known and reliable customers that have a long-term need for Giant King Grass as a fuel or feedstock," Kukkonen added. "Using this focused approach, rather than simply selling seedlings to all parties, the Company expects to develop profitable business relationships that hold potential to continue for decades."

VIASPACE is a clean energy company providing products and technology for renewable and alternative energy that reduce or eliminate dependence on fossil and high-pollutant energy sources. Through its subsidiary VIASPACE Green Energy Inc., the Company grows Giant King Grass as a low carbon fuel for electricity generating power plants and as a feedstock for cellulosic biofuels.

SOURCE: VIASPACE Inc.