- Category: Bioenergy
28 Aug 2012
- Published on Tuesday, 28 August 2012 10:39
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The first-phase of operations in the world’s first commercial demonstration algae-to-energy facility is now underway in New Mexico.
Sapphire Energy, Inc has seeded and harvested the first ponds in the Green Crude Farm, garnering 21 million gallons of algae biomass totaling 81 tons.
The Green Crude Farm, or “Integrated Algal BioRefinery,” is a 300 acre facility in Columbus, New Mexico that will integrate the entire value chain of algae-based crude oil production, from cultivation to extraction.
By 2018, Sapphire aims to produce 10,000 barrels a day of algae biofuel or around 1 million gallons per year at the farm.
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The Green Crude Farm intends to be a fully sustainable project. The algae will consume approximately 56 metric tons of carbon dioxide a day and the biomass not used in the productions of fuel will be recycled as nutrients to support the algae ponds.
Construction of the first phase of this facility began in June 1, 2011 and was completed on time and on budget. The first ponds were seeded with algae this March and harvested in June. The Green Crude Farm is currently preparing to transition its operations to a winter variety of algae while continuing cultivation, harvest and extraction activities.
“Bringing our Green Crude Farm online is not only an important accomplishment for Sapphire Energy, but a critical step toward a viable alternative energy future," says Cynthia 'CJ' Warner, chief executive and chair of Sapphire Energy. "What was once a concept is now becoming a reality and model for growing algae to make a renewable crude oil for energy. We look forward to sharing our progress as the Green Crude Farm moves to its next stage."
In April of this year, Sapphire Energy secured $144 million in investment funding from a series C investment round from the facility. The facility was also previously awarded a $50 million grant from the Department of Energy and a $55.4 million loan guarantee from the Department of Agriculture’s biorefinery assistance program.
All in all, Sapphire Energy has received a total of around $300 million in funding from both private and public sectors for the Green Crude Farm.
Based in San Diego, Sapphire Energy focuses in producing fuels from algae to serve as a low carbon, renewable and scalable replacement from petroleum-based products. – EcoSeed Staff