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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

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Algae based diesel
By FITCamaro on 8/1/2013 1:58:56 PM , Rating: 0
I highly support algae based diesel. But I still don't support the tax payers investing in it. The loans never should have been given in the first place. To me the technology and product speaks for itself and should have been left to private investment. Even if it meant it took a little longer to get off the ground.

RE: Algae based diesel
By toffty on 8/1/13, Rating: 0
RE: Algae based diesel
By Flunk on 8/1/2013 2:38:55 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see the problem, if they pay it back no one has lost anything. Investing in energy independence just makes economic sense as compared to continuing to rely on foreign oil suppliers.

I don't agree with all subsidies, corn ethanol doesn't make any sense because they burn nearly as much gasoline to produce the ethanol as they get out of the process and the net environmental impact is much worse than oil.

But loans for research and development of promising ideas makes perfect sense.

RE: Algae based diesel
By ClownPuncher on 8/1/2013 2:52:51 PM , Rating: 3
Truth be told, no government should be in the business of money lending.

RE: Algae based diesel
By Fallen Kell on 8/1/2013 6:47:21 PM , Rating: 2
With that frame of thought, then no government should be in the business of funding research, even for things it needs like new airplane designs, tanks, destroyers, aircraft carriers, radar, sonar, missiles, etc. If the private industry hasn't made it and isn't selling it, then the government shouldn't be buying it, because the act of inventing something would require lending the money to research the new technology and scientific knowledge to make the item. And lets be realistic here, no private industry would ever risk building an aircraft carrier without having a buyer before making it, and no buyer would purchase something without knowing it works, which means the company would need to foot the bill for researching if their design works, and for something like an aircraft carrier, it would cost billions to prove out the design, and no company would risk billions of capital on something they do not even know there will be a buyer, since the government could simply say, we don't need a new one for another 20 years, at which point the company that spent the capital for the design would be certainly out of business having tossed billions down the hole.

RE: Algae based diesel
By ClownPuncher on 8/1/2013 7:01:09 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see how you jumped to that conclusion.

It is the duty of the government to provide a well equipped military, as stated on the constitution. The pay up front for both the design and manufacture of said aircraft carrier.

It isn't the duty of the government to act as a lending bank. I can see the point of government approved loans for research like this, but it shouldn't be tax dollars paying for it. Private banks should decide whether or not to loan out such large sums based on government approval, credit rating and the choice of said bank.

RE: Algae based diesel
By chenjf on 8/1/2013 8:41:57 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe Fallen Kell shouldnt have used the military. Lets go with the Internet that was started by DARPA.

RE: Algae based diesel
By Paj on 8/2/2013 9:25:07 AM , Rating: 2
True, we probably shouldnt have developed spaceflight, invented wifi, split the atom or conceived of the Internet. Waste of taxpayer dollars, right?

RE: Algae based diesel
By ClownPuncher on 8/2/2013 11:18:01 AM , Rating: 2
Those were mostly government projects aided by private industry. Which I have no problem with.

The government has poven time and time again that it is not good with money. Why would we want them to operate like a bank?

RE: Algae based diesel
By Basilisk on 8/6/2013 10:57:43 AM , Rating: 2
Good grief, I don't even want the banks operating like the banks have been!

RE: Algae based diesel
By Jeffk464 on 8/2/2013 11:12:39 AM , Rating: 2
Government funding gave us the first computer, jet engine, radar, etc.

RE: Algae based diesel
By talikarni on 8/1/2013 2:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
Amen FIT! It is governments responsibility to step in ONLY when something becomes a danger on a large scale to the people (and I do not mean that scam of so called man made global warming that has no concrete proof)... They should not use our tax money to invest in private businesses.

Sure a few have worked out and repaid their loans, but that is the exception to these events.... What about the billions lost in the others that went under like Solyndra and so many others.

So far, 34 companies that were offered federal support from taxpayers are faltering — either having gone bankrupt or laying off workers or heading for bankruptcy. This list includes only those companies that received federal money from the Obama Administration’s Department of Energy and other agencies. The amount of money indicated does not reflect how much was actually received or spent but how much was offered. The amount also does not include other state, local, and federal tax credits and subsidies, which push the amount of money these companies have received from taxpayers even higher.

The complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies:

Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*
SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
Solyndra ($535 million)*
Beacon Power ($43 million)*
Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
SunPower ($1.2 billion)
First Solar ($1.46 billion)
Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
Amonix ($5.9 million)
Fisker Automotive ($529 million)
Abound Solar ($400 million)*
A123 Systems ($279 million)*
Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*
Johnson Controls ($299 million)
Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
ECOtality ($126.2 million)
Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
Range Fuels ($80 million)*
Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*
Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*
GreenVolts ($500,000)
Vestas ($50 million)
LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)
Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
Navistar ($39 million)
Satcon ($3 million)*
Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*
Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)

*Denotes companies that have filed for bankruptcy.

RE: Algae based diesel
By Spuke on 8/1/2013 3:18:15 PM , Rating: 2
Odd that Navistar is on this list since they're not an energy company.

RE: Algae based diesel
By gamerk2 on 8/1/2013 4:28:24 PM , Rating: 4
But you miss the point: All that money will eventually be made back in future economic growth.

In any industry, you always go though the same period: You have a few (2-3) founding companies, then a massive wave of growth, then a major contraction. Right now, we're at the tail end of the contraction phase. The ones that survive will be the founders of the global renewable energy market, here in the US. Where they will pay taxes (hundreds of millions per years worth) for decades to come.

Short term thinking like yours is what's driving this country into the ground.

RE: Algae based diesel
By Fallen Kell on 8/1/2013 6:58:53 PM , Rating: 2
Add in the fact that the Chinese are subsidizing everything related to energy so that they are the defacto place to produce everything, and you will see even more companies trying to compete in that skewed market fail. And once all the outside competition fails, China will raise the prices. China has already done this on rare earth minerals (which are not really that rare). Over the last 20 years China has been flooding the market with subsidized rare earths to drop the price below what other mines could produce and be profitable. Now that they are the only ones with active mines they cut shipments of rare earths to any manufacturing site located outside China, which has skyrocketed prices, and at the same time shifted the manufacturing of the devices that used them (everything from generators and turbines, to speakers and TV's, to guided missiles) to need to be made in China since you can get the materials in China for cheap as long as they are used in products that are fully manufactured in China, thus sucking away all the jobs from other countries which needed rare earths.

RE: Algae based diesel
By FITCamaro on 8/1/2013 7:52:19 PM , Rating: 1
It's not an issue of whether or not things are good ideas.

It's an issue of whether or not they are constitutional. The law either exists or it doesn't.

RE: Algae based diesel
By Paj on 8/2/2013 9:27:13 AM , Rating: 2
That's fantastic. Sometimes I swear you're an advanced chatbot with a good grasp of satire.

RE: Algae based diesel
By darthmaule2 on 8/2/2013 8:11:29 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder why you only posted the failures and not the successes?

DOE loan success rate: 98 percent; Bain Capital success rate: 80 percent

RE: Algae based diesel
By Jeffk464 on 8/2/2013 11:15:21 AM , Rating: 2
I don't get why the geothermal failed, I thought that one has proven to be practical. Must be an incompetent company.

RE: Algae based diesel
By darthmaule2 on 8/2/2013 8:08:34 AM , Rating: 1
But I still don't support the tax payers investing in it

We know. You post your ideology at least once a week, and, we are all impressed by your political insights on this technology website.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
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