This is the second part of my three part interview with Mike Mendez, Sapphire Energy's vice-president of technology. Here Mike talks about the intense interest globally in algae, what separates Sapphire from its competitors, and green crude.
This is Part I of my three part Q & A with Mike Mendez, vice-president of technology at Sapphire Energy. In this part, Mendez talks about his background, the history and mission of Sapphire, how algae is turned into energy, and is goal to domesticate algae.
And microbe cannibalism is part of the business plan.
Scientists here work on harvesting today’s sunlight to power our future
If you’re thinking about going solar, well, in a way, you already have.
Most of the energy we use on Earth was created by the sun. Oil, coal, natural gas, wind, hydropower, even the heat from a wood-burning stove. (Big exceptions are nuclear and geothermal power.)
By relying on fossil fuels, we’ve built a civilization on ancient rays of the sun.
It matters not much whether solar giant SunEdison buys or leases city land for a solar generation plant. Just so renewable-energy companies like SunEdison choose to set up production in Las Cruces.
U.S. West is an hotbed of development
If you visit the gas pump today, you'll likely see a note that some of the contents include ethanol. Corn-based ethanol may be leading the biofuel race today, but it faces issues dealing with land use and the food versus fuel debate. That is partly why there is such a groundswell of excitement over the use of algae for biofuels. "Algae biofuels is going to be a significant portion of the renewable energy strategy of this country moving forward. The research is really starting to show that these things are achievable," says Michael McCloud, business developer with Ariz. algae startup Phyco Biosciences.
Here is what we know about algae: it’s often green and always loaded with potential. Its growth rate of 30 to 100 times that of terrestrial plants is alarming. And the whispers that once told us microalgae, an organism much smaller than the size of a pinhead, could change the way we think about filling our tanks and fueling our planes get louder-much louder.
What does a recently passed U.S. House of Representatives bill mean for algae? Parity, for one thing-or at least the allusion of it.
Startups try to bring alternative biofuel to commercial scale
With a big boost from the government, algae is making headway as a potential replacement for some of the 18 million barrels of crude oil used daily nationwide.
Sapphire Energy has four pillars that define the company; yet the over arching pillar that truly drives them is the concept of scale. But before they could begin overcoming that challenge, they first had to decide what kind of company they wanted to be. The answer – an energy company.