Locating sites for new algae cultivation facilities is a complex task. The climate must support high growth rates, and cultivation ponds require appropriate land and water resources as well as transportation and utility infrastructure.
Algae has been touted as the ultimate platform for fuels, chemicals, nutraceuticals, proteins — even cancer therapies. There’s been a rate of progress that would impress any devotee of Moore’s Law — and a series of wacky claims that would impress any devotee of P.T. Barnun. So, what are the real trends?
The world’s first commercial algae-to-biofuels demonstration plant is being commissioned in New Mexico by Sapphire Energy. Spread out over 300 acres, when fully operational the biofuels plant will be able to produce about 100 barrels per day of what Sapphire Energy calls “green crude,” enough to produce about one million gallons of diesel and jet fuel per year. The purpose of the demonstration project is to prove out the technology at a sufficiently large scale to enable investment in much larger commercial projects later in the decade. Though the project received a grant from the Department of Energy and a loan guarantee from the Department of Agriculture, the New Mexico plant was primarily funded by private investment.
Company description: San Diego-based Sapphire Energy is pioneering an entirely new industry – Green Crude Production – with the potential to profoundly change America’s energy and petrochemical landscape for the better. Sapphire’s products and processes in this category differ significantly from other forms of biofuel because they are made solely from photosynthetic microorganisms (algae), using sunlight and CO2 as their feedstock; are not dependent on food crops or valuable farmland; do not use potable water; do not result in biodiesel or ethanol; enhance and replace petroleum-based products; and are low carbon. Green Crude can be refined into the three most important liquid fuels used by our society: gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. The fuels meet ASTM standards and are compatible with the existing petroleum infrastructure, from refinement through distribution and the retail supply chain.
Senator visits with eye on federal policies
On a tour Thursday, Jan. 23, of Sapphire Energy’s research and development facility in the West Mesa Industrial Park, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich addressed the unique nature of the advanced biodiesel industry and the challenge it poses for legislators.
Beta Renewables, Abengoa, Enerkem, Proterro among the winners for Project of the Year — as residues and waste are keys to the big wins.
For Fuel of the Year, Renewable Chemical of the Year, Product of the Year, Yield Improvement, Process Improvement and more – who are the big winners?
In the annual poll, voters reward key fighters on the RFS2 front, companies reaching scale, and pioneers in renewable chemicals. Top 300 recognized.
In Florida, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack headed the “Top 100 People in the Bioeconomy” as voted by the readers of The Digest and the publication’s editorial board.
The day when planes, trucks and cars are commonly revved up on pond scum may be on the near horizon thanks to a technological advance that continuously turns a stream of concentrated algae into bio-crude oil. From green goo to crude takes less than an hour.
Phillips 66 is entering into a new research joint development agreement aimed at taking algal crude oil refining one important step closer to commercialization. This Technology research project will try to answer a central question: Is algal crude ready for a conventional refinery?
In California, three major tie-ups between top-ranked developing bioeconomy darlings and old-line giants were the buzz on the second day of BIO’s annual Pac-Rim event in San Diego. Just after word about Sapphire Energy and Philipps 66′s tie-up was announced, news circulated on the floor about a key advance featuring Novozymes and Monsanto. Then, this morning, word appeared that Braskem and Genomatica had finalized a key partnership for butadiene.