VIASPACE CEO Provides Business Update in Webcast Interview With The Green Baron Report
IRVINE, Calif., Nov. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — VIASPACE Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: VSPC), a clean energy company growing Giant King(TM) Grass as a low-carbon, renewable biomass dedicated energy crop, and its subsidiary VIASPACE Green Energy Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: VGREF), today announced that its CEO Carl Kukkonen has conducted an exclusive new audio-taped webcast interview so that shareholders and the investment community can learn more about the Company’s recently developments and its growth plans. Unrestricted access to the webcast is now available on the “Webcasts” page at http://www.thegreenbaron.com/Webcasts.htm. Investors who wish to receive The Green Baron Report for free can join at http://www.thegreenbaron.com/Join.htm.
The Green Baron Report issued an updated “Stock Pick” profile on VIASPACE Inc. dated Monday, November 7, 2011 to its members that is available on their website. The report focused on news about VIASPACE’s proprietary Giant King Grass being used to fuel a proposed 90 MW biomass power plant project in Thailand. The landmark agreement for VIASPACE would support the largest biomass power project being developed in Asia.
The interview is summarized below.
Question: Please give us a brief overview of the history of VIASPACE.
VIASPACE was founded in 1998 and became public in 2005. Originally the company focused on products that were licensed from the Caltech NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The original technologies came via the space program– that is how the company got its name VIASPACE. From 1984 until 1998 I was director of a research center at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
VIASPACE is now focused on renewable energy, in particular we focus on biomass energy which is energy derived from living things like plants.
Question: I understand that VIASPACE has a proprietary dedicated energy crop called Giant King(TM) Grass which you grow as a low-carbon fuel for electricity generating power plants, and as a feedstock for making energy pellets and cellulosic biofuels such as ethanol and butanol. Please explain the characteristics of Giant King Grass in more detail and why it has such great potential as an energy crop.
First it is important to understand how biomass is used for energy today, and why a dedicated energy crop is needed.
The oldest use of biomass is to simply burn biomass such as wood to produce heat for your home business. The heat can also be used to boil water to make steam which produces electricity. In these applications, biomass replaces coal, oil or natural gas.
Biomass such as corn or sugarcane can be distilled into alcohol called ethanol which is an automotive fuel replacing gasoline. Corn and sugarcane can also be used to make biochemicals and bio plastics which are currently made from oil.
There are two major advantages of using biomass. First biomass is renewable. New plants can be grown to replace the plants used for energy. Second, using biomass puts much less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere compared to using coal, oil or natural gas. This is because plants breathe carbon dioxide and store it in their tissue. When you burn biomass, you are simply recycling the carbon dioxide absorbed originally by the plant. Biomass is carbon neutral.
So if biomass is renewable and carbon neutral, why don’t we use it routinely for energy today?
There are three main reasons.
First, corn and sugarcane are food crops and the world does not want trade off food supplies for fuel.
Second, wood is needed for construction and furniture, and there is not enough wood in the world today for energy. People don’t want the rain forest cut down just to supply energy.
Finally, the primary sources of biomass for energy today are byproducts of forestry and agriculture such as sawdust, and corn straw–which is the rest of the corn plant after the corn is harvested. These waste products are in limited supply which has caused their price to rise dramatically.
Dedicated energy crops such as our Giant King Grass can solve these problems of biomass. Giant King Grass is the highest yielding crop in the world. It is not a food crop and it can be grown on marginal land which is not used for food. Giant King Grass has been extensively tested by many companies and shown to be suitable for electricity generation and biofuels. Its high yield in terms of tons per acre means that Giant King Grass is the lowest cost feedstock and this means that the electricity and biofuels can be produced profitably.
We believe that VIASPACE Giant King Grass will be the fuel and feedstock of choice for many bioenergy applications. We are working closely with companies that produce power plants and bio conversion facilities to develop projects that integrate a Giant King Grass plantation with a power plant, energy pellet mill or bio refinery.
VIASPACE has a scalable and sustainable business model. A Giant King Grass plantation and power plant can be reproduced hundreds of times throughout the world. The plantation provides jobs for farmers. The power plant provides good paying jobs and the money stays inside the country rather than going to pay for imported oil or coal. The resulting electricity is clean and provides energy for local industry and development.
Question: On Monday, November 7, 2011, it was announced that VIASPACE signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Seema Energy Co., Ltd. to jointly plan a Giant King Grass plantation to fuel Seema’s proposed 90 Megawatt biomass power plant. In the release, you stated, “This is a landmark agreement for VIASPACE to support the largest biomass power project being developed in Asia.” Please explain this agreement and its potential in terms of revenues and profits in the future.
The proposed Seema power plant is in Thailand which is the perfect climate for growing Giant King Grass. The new government elected this year is working aggressively to find alternatives for their planned nuclear power plants after the Japanese nuclear disaster.
Seema is planning to use 100% Giant King Grass in their power plant complex which will be built out as three co-located 30 MW power plants for a total of 90 MW. The companion Giant King Grass plantation will produce the more than 900,000 tons of Giant King Grass each year.
I was in Thailand last week to meet with Seema and with other potential customers. I believe that Thailand will be an important market for VIASPACE.
The Seema project is extremely important because it will be not only be the largest biomass power plant in Asia, it will be the first power plant to use a dedicated energy crop rather than agricultural waste as its fuel. It is the perfect example of our business model which is to have an integrated plantation and power plant that are co-located. Water and sunshine come in and electricity goes out.
The Seema project will be one of the first commercial applications of Giant King Grass on a large scale. The plantation will be up to 20,000 acres in size.
The proposed project will produce significant revenue and profit for VIASPACE, and it will be a model for replication throughout Thailand and the world.
Seema and VIASPACE have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop the plantation. Seema has also signed a contract for a 5 acre test plot of Giant King Grass in Thailand. We have received the first payment on this contract. While I was in Thailand with our VIASPACE agronomist, we looked at land for the Seema test plot, and we planted a small amount of Giant King Grass. The full 5 acres should be planted in January. The purpose of the test plot is to demonstrate Giant King Grass growing in Thailand, and to do scientific studies for optimal growth including requirements for irrigation and fertilizer. I expect to be back in Thailand in January.
Question: Tell us about other projects that have large potential you are working on for use of Giant King Grass.
We have a joint venture to develop an integrated Giant King Grass plantation and pellet mill in the Dominican Republic to produce energy pellets for export to coal-fired power plants in Europe. The pellets have been tested and we are negotiating a contract with a large European utility.
We are also working on a pellet mill project in Southeast Asia and potential power plants in Central and South America.
Most of our discussions are covered by confidentiality agreements, and we will release information when it is okayed by our partners.
Question: Your quarterly earnings report was recently announced on Tuesday, November 15 and showed that VIASPACE generated $2.17 million in revenues, an increase of 138% from the prior year, and gross profit increased 199% from the previous year. How do you attribute these stronger results?
The profits are generated from our Inter-Pacific Arts division that produces framed art for US retailers. As the economy in the US improves, consumers are purchasing our quality framed art to decorate their homes and apartments. We are on track for a very good year. Revenue for the first three quarters was a little above $5.5 million which is a 114% increase over last year.
We have been working hard to keep costs down and to produce the highest quality product for our existing customers. The framed art business is very important to VIASPACE. We are fully committed to it and we expect that we can expand the business in the future.
However, our focus for long-term growth is the renewable energy business based on Giant King Grass. We have been reinvesting the profits and cash flow into improving our framed art factory, and most importantly to build the Giant King Grass-based energy business, which we believe will be the major revenue and profit generator in the future.
Question: At what point in the future do you believe VIASPACE will go profitable on a net basis and what stock price do you believe the Company should be valued at once that occurs?
The framed art business is profitable already and generating cash for us to reinvest into the grass business. When we begin to record significant revenue from the Giant King Grass business, VIASPACE itself will be profitable. We believe that when we have a contract for the first power plant or pellet mill, the investment community will pay a lot of attention to VIASPACE. The stock market determines our valuation; I cannot do that, although I believe our potential for growth is not factored into our current stock price. When we record significant revenues from our Giant King Grass business our shareholders should be rewarded.
Question: Finally, what else would you like to tell an investor that might be considering a purchase of VSPC common stock?
I would first tell the investor that all penny stocks are not created equal. Research the company. Do they have a real business? Are they making presentations and attending conferences? Do they have potential contracts and are they updating shareholders with press releases? You need to be careful in investing in penny stocks and don’t put your life savings into any penny stock.
VIASPACE has been in business for 13 years and we have been public for six years. We are fully reporting to the SEC, and fully audited. We are an honest company, and we communicate regularly with our shareholders. We believe that our Giant King Grass will be an important fuel and feedstock for the future. The very high yield and low cost of Giant King Grass should make it the biomass source of choice for many applications. Our entire team is working hard to make the company successful.
About VIASPACE Inc.
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 majority-owned subsidiary VIASPACE Green Energy Inc., the Company grows Giant King Grass as a low-carbon fuel for electricity generating power plants, as a feedstock for bio methane production and cellulosic biofuels, and for other low-carbon, renewable energy products. For more information, please go to www.viaspace.com or contact Dr. Jan Vandersande, Director of Communications, at 800-517-8050 or IR@VIASPACE.com.
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Safe Harbor Statement
Information in this news release includes forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation, risks outlined in our periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010, as well as general economic and business conditions; the ability to acquire and develop specific products and technologies; changes in consumer and business demand for the Company’s products; competition from larger companies; changes in demand for alternative and clean energy; risks associated with international transactions; risks related to technological change; and other factors over which VIASPACE has little or no control.
SOURCE VIASPACE Inc.