Print 52 comment(s) - last by Basilisk.. on Aug 6 at 10:57 AM

Sapphire Energy is now working on scaling up its production of the world's first renewable crude oil

A green crude oil production company has paid off its loan guarantee to the U.S. government early and in full. 

Sapphire Energy, a producer of the world’s first renewable crude oil, fully repaid its $54.5 million loan guarantee early. The loan was awarded to Sapphire Energy by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2009 through the Biorefinery Assistance Program.

“Sapphire Energy is very grateful to the USDA for supporting algae crude oil as an alternative source of energy as well as our vision to make this industry a reality,” said Cynthia ‘CJ’ Warner, CEO and chairman of Sapphire Energy. “With their backing, we did exactly what we set out to do. We grew our company, advanced our algae technologies, and built, on time and on budget, the first, fully operational, commercial demonstration, algae-to-energy facility that delivers a proven process for producing refinery-ready Green Crude oil. We could not have built this first of a kind facility without the support of the USDA. Moving forward, our focus is on commercializing our technology and expanding operations to bring crude oil production to commercial demonstration scale as planned.”

Sapphire Energy is now working on scaling up its production of the world's first renewable crude oil. The company built its Green Crude Farm, which promotes algae crude oil production from cultivation to extraction. Its biofuel is made from photosynthetic microorganisms like algae and cyanobacteria, and uses sunlight and carbon dioxide as their feedstock. Also, its biofuel is not dependent on food crops or farmland, does not use potable water, does not result in biodiesel or ethanol, and is low carbon, renewable and scalable. 
The farm has created over 600 jobs throughout its phase 1 construction with about 30 full-time employees currently operating the facility. 
Sapphire Energy plans to produce 100 barrels of crude oil per day in 2015, and hit commercial-scale production in 2018.

This isn't the first government loan to be paid off early this year. Back in May, Tesla Motors repaid its $465 million loan to the U.S. Department of Energy nine years early

Source: Sapphire Energy

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By foxalopex on 8/1/2013 1:49:03 PM , Rating: 2
I own a Chevy volt so I don't need quite as much oil as most folks but seeing how as it's going to take a long time to convert all of our fleets to hybrid or even to EV, this is a great solution. Best of all, it's carbon neutral too as I'm assuming it takes in Co2 to produce the algae to produce the bio oil.

RE: Excellent
By toffty on 8/1/2013 2:05:50 PM , Rating: 2
It would be interesting to see how carbon neutral it is.

My main question is can the oil be used as is or does the oil need to be refined? If the bio-oil still need to be refiened, the process still has inefficiencies since, if it's like crude, it would take enough electricity to refine the oil to gas as it would to drive a Nissan Leaf 20 miles. Either way this does seem like a good source of oil as we transition to PHEVs and EVs as opposed to drilling everywhere and destroying the environment.

RE: Excellent
By othercents on 8/2/2013 8:27:12 AM , Rating: 2
Yes you would refine it just like any other crude oil you get from the ground to produce gasoline and every other product made from crude oil. The difference is that this crude oil is grown and we don't have to use up the natural resources. If electricity is an issue we just grow more crude oil for our electric needs.

Obviously this doesn't satisfy Greenpeace, but nothing does. I think they were against walking due to the amount of CO2 your body released when doing so.

RE: Excellent
By danjw1 on 8/1/2013 2:07:02 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, it does use CO2.

RE: Excellent
By Mint on 8/2/2013 12:41:39 PM , Rating: 2
This is not a yes or no question.

Recycling aluminum is not waste-free, but it's a hell of a lot better than throwing it all the trash.

RE: Excellent
By talikarni on 8/1/2013 2:21:42 PM , Rating: 2
EV on a large scale, nationwide is not a sustainable goal without guaranteeing he ability to drive it for 12+ hours and quick refills like modern day gas/diesel vehicles, which is MUCH farther out and down the line, at least 10-20+ years. Scale up this algae based fuel provided it keeps the same power potential of gasoline, and we can keep our existing infrastructure, vehicles and still go green. All without needing to waste money on some $40-100,000 vehicle in the name of "going green".
As for carbon neutral, it soaks in the same amount of CO2 during its pre-fuel stages as the post fuel stages when burned in a vehicle would produce.

RE: Excellent
By Argon18 on 8/1/13, Rating: 0
RE: Excellent
By Motoman on 8/1/2013 3:32:14 PM , Rating: 2

On the other hand, if there actually is a way to produce biofuel in a responsible manner (meaning not only in an environmentally-responsible manner, but also in a socially and financially responsible manner) then we should absolutely be working on that like crazy.

I'll be keen to see what the energy efficiency is of the process (as in, do we get more net energy out of it than we put in, as opposed to ethanol) as well as it's impact on land use (like, does it take otherwise food-bearing or ecologically-important ground out of the cycle) and it's financial soundness (if the resulting fuel costs $20 a thanks) reported at some point.

RE: Excellent
By Jeffk464 on 8/2/2013 11:04:33 AM , Rating: 1
Ethanol works great if you can use sugar cane. Its only inefficient when you are using corn as your feed stock.

RE: Excellent
By Motoman on 8/2/2013 12:23:28 PM , Rating: 1
Um, no. Here's your sign.

RE: Excellent
By foxalopex on 8/1/2013 3:44:51 PM , Rating: 3
EV's have their place in our world. For the folks who can afford it and it fits in their daily travel it works great. I own a Volt myself and the last time I remember filling it up with gas was 3 months ago and I use my car every day for work and errands and driving friends.

In comparison to my Corolla 05 that I owned, the car is so quiet that it reminds me of when I was a kid on a bicycle out in the fresh air. While not a sports car it has a tremendous amount of off the line torque and you can use it without any fear of burning excessive amount of gas. I'm also reminded whenever I smell gas fumes from following another car on the road that I'm not making the situation worse for anyone else immediately around me. So yes there are obvious benefits.

A part of ensuring our energy futures is to ensure we have as many alternatives as possible, and not to be just vested in only one option. (oil). EV is only one option.

RE: Excellent
By Reclaimer77 on 8/2/2013 12:43:11 AM , Rating: 2
I just threw up in my mouth a little...

RE: Excellent
By Guspaz on 8/1/2013 4:22:29 PM , Rating: 3
EVs are not remotely cheap enough to be a practical mass-market solution yet, (and won't be for a decade or two), but I take issue with two of your points. First, that it needs to travel 12+ hours (few gasoline vehicles can do that either), and secondly that it can't do quick refills (Tesla does automated battery swaps faster than filling a gas tank).

You're still right about 10-20+ years before EVs really go mass market (making up the majority of sales), but I think the reasons for that are different (pure cost).

RE: Excellent
By Mint on 8/2/2013 12:35:48 PM , Rating: 2
EVs are very close to being cheap enough for mass scale. All they need is smartphone-like financing.

Imagine buying a car and then having a monthly plan to use it ($100/mo for 1000 miles, 10c/mile overage) that was a bit cheaper than gasoline costs for most regular cars. Over 15 years, this works out to $18000 in revenue, and given the proven reliability of electric motors, it should last even longer.

A few grand would go towards refurbishing battery packs (which are much cheaper 5-10 years from now), but the rest can go towards discounting the upfront cost, just like a two year contract discounts a smartphone.

We don't have that yet in the US, but we do have $199/mo leases from several cars. Only the worst gas powered econoboxes can match that in lease+fuel costs.

RE: Excellent
By Jeffk464 on 8/2/2013 11:01:37 AM , Rating: 2
Its really not very safe to drive over 10 to 11 hours a day.

RE: Excellent
By Dr of crap on 8/2/2013 10:17:47 AM , Rating: 2
OH you green people !

Now the rest of just don't car to much about carbon neutral as long as gas isn't so high we need to take out a loan to fill up.

Sure no pollution is a good thing, and using renewable fuel is good, but carbon neutral...
Even cows and earthquakes give off carbon!

RE: Excellent
By Jeffk464 on 8/2/2013 10:48:45 AM , Rating: 2
They didn't say what their best guess is for the cost per barrel.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
Related Articles

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki