February 14, 2011
VIASPACE Inc. and its subsidiary VIASPACE Green Energy Inc. reported results of recent independent testing of Giant King Grass as a feedstock for producing second-generation cellulosic biofuels such as ethanol and butanol, and biomass-based chemicals.
In summary, the test data shows that VIASPACE's proprietary Giant King Grass has essentially the same properties as corn stover and wheat straw, which are current leading candidate feedstocks for making not only cellulosic biofuels but also a wide range of biochemicals.
The detailed testing of Giant King Grass included sugar and lignin content, several levels of pretreatment, and enzymatic hydrolysis to sugars. The party that conducted the tests independently and at their own expense was not named.
VIASPACE Chief Executive Dr. Carl Kukkonen commented: "These initial results show that a ton of Giant King Grass can yield as much bio ethanol as a ton of corn stover. This validates Giant King Grass, a nonfood dedicated energy crop, as a competitive feedstock for producing cellulosic biofuels.
"Most importantly, an acre of Giant King Grass yields up to 10 times greater tonnage than an acre of corn stover, which is the stalk and leaves leftover from harvesting an acre of corn," Kukkonen continued, "With our high yield, we believe that Giant King Grass can reduce biofuel feedstock costs by up to 40%, even when compared to projected prices for corn straw as agricultural waste. As a result, Giant King Grass promises the cost-of-production breakthrough that has plagued the second-generation biofuels industry."
"Giant King Grass had already been shown to have excellent properties for direct combustion for electricity generation and for biogas production using anaerobic digestion," Kukkonen added. "This new data on its potential for biofuels places Giant King Grass in a unique position as a low-cost feedstock with universal application in the worldwide push toward clean electricity generation and production of cellulosic ethanol and other liquid biofuels."
Cellulosic ethanol is projected to cost $2.00-$2.25/per gallon, and global demand for cellulosic biofuels is expected to become a multibillion-dollar market in the next few years. Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, 12.95 billion gallons of renewable fuel were required to be used in 2010, increasing to 36 billion gallons per year by 2022. Similar requirements are in place in Europe and many other countries.