Viaspace Giant King Grass growing in Hawaii
Viaspace Inc. has announced that its proprietary dedicated energy crop, Giant King Grass, is now growing in Hawaii.
"Hawaii has the highest electricity rates of any US state because their electricity is mostly generated from expensive imported oil,” said Viaspace CEO Carl Kukkonen. “Hawaii's electric rates range from 30 cents to 40 cents per kilowatt hour depending on the cost of oil. This is two or three times the cost of electricity on the U.S. mainland. Bioelectricity from Giant King Grass is substantially cheaper than oil generated electricity and has much lower carbon emissions. In addition, the large military presence on Hawaii has requirements for liquid biofuels for aircraft and ships. We believe that Hawaii should be an important part of the Viaspace U.S. strategy."
Previously, Viaspace announced that Giant King Grass has been released from quarantine by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for distribution in the United States. Hawaii, however, has additional plant import rules, and the Giant King Grass is being grown in a facility under the purview of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
Kukkonen personally supervised the planting in Hawaii and met with Department of Agriculture officials as well as with potential Giant King Grass customers in Hawaii., "The climate in Hawaii is ideal for Giant King Grass,” Kukkonen said. “There are substantial tracts of land available on different Hawaiian Islands that were previously used to grow sugarcane and pineapple. These are lying fallow now and can be used for energy crop production."
"Giant King Grass can also become an important part of the tourism industry which is crucial for Hawaii's economy. Not only can Giant King Grass provide clean electricity for hotels and resorts, visiting the Giant King Grass plantations and co-located green power plants can become one of the islands' tourist attractions like visits to the sugar and pineapple plantations. Giant King Grass could become the source of electricity for the entire island of Lanai—recently purchased by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison—and make it one of the world's first green resort destinations. This concept is not unique to Hawaii and applies to many islands and nations with tropical climates that depend on oil for their electricity. For these applications, Giant King Grass generated electricity is significantly cheaper, continuously renewable and green."
"The Giant King Grass now growing in Hawaii was provided by the VIASPACE nursery in California, “Viaspace Board Chairman Kevin Schewe said. “We have recently shipped GKG seedlings from California for projects with three other customers and…Kukkonen is currently out of the country and personally supervising planting of GKG with one of these new customers. We are anxious to announce these projects and are respecting our clients' internal timelines and needs in this regard. We have graduated from an R&D company and are busy executing our business strategy on a global scale."