What happened to Sapphire Energy?

[USA] Since beginning of this year, Sapphire Energy no longer exists. It was bought by a farmer for pennies on the dollar. There was an announcement on Sapphire Energy website but the new owner took it down. Nothing to do with biofuels anymore, only farming.

The company official website http://www.sapphireenergy.com/ left only one single page.

In year 2014, Sapphire Energy employed over 150 employees. The company was headquartered in San Diego, Calif., and had an engineering office in Orange County, Calif. and a Research and Development facility in Las Cruces, NM. In addition, the company’s Green Crude Farm, the world’s first commercial demonstration algae-to-energy facility (also known as the Integrated Algal BioRefinery or IABR), for which construction began in June 2011, was operating in Luna Country, near Columbus, New Mexico.

How much money had Sapphire Energy raised?

In 2008, Sapphire Energy announced it had raised more than $100 million in a Series B funding round which included ARCH Venture Partners, Wellcome Trust, Venrock and Cascade Investment, LLC. In April 2012, the company announced it had secured $144 million in Series C investment funding with backers including Arrowpoint Partners, Monsanto and other undisclosed investors, as well as all Series B investors.

In December 2009, Sapphire Energy was awarded a $54.5 million USDA loan guarantee and a $50 million grant from the US Dept. of Energy as part of President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the USDA’s Biorefinery Assistance Program 9003, authorized through the 2008 Farm Bill. The $54.5 million loan guarantee awarded through the Biorefinery Assistance Program was issued to build a fully integrated, algae-to-crude oil commercial demonstration facility in Columbus, N.M. In partnership with the USDA and the U.S. Department of Energy, Sapphire Energy developed and implemented its facility, known as the Green Crude Farm, on time and on budget. In 2013, Sapphire Energy announced that it had paid off of its entire loan guarantee to the USDA.

Sapphire’s algae biofuel

Sapphire Energy’s Green Crude biofuel has been featured in multiple pilot demonstrations since 2009. The company used Syntroleum Inc (SYNM) technology to provide fifty gallons of gasoline for the Algaeus, a plugin-hybrid Toyota Prius that drove across the United States in September 2009. The tour was conducted to show that gasoline made by algae is viable in today’s vehicles, without modification.

In 2009, Continental Airlines also tested one of Sapphire Energy’s green crude blends. Sapphire Energy provided Green Crude oil for the first flight’s using algae derived jet fuel that was refined by UOP into jet fuel for two test flights – Continental Airlines 737-800 and Japan Airlines 747-300.

In 2012, the company provided its Green Crude diesel fuel to power Below the Surface’s ‘Driving Innovation’ Racing Team, which established itself by setting the first official algae-fueled diesel motorcycle speed records through a series of race challenges in the United States and Mexico.

Since 2008, Sapphire Energy had consistently ranked in the Biofuels Digest list of the hottest 50 companies in bioenergy.

In the September 2012 issue of Forbes magazine, Sapphire Energy expects its Green Crude to “be competitive with petroleum by 2018 if it can produce a minimum of 5,000 barrels a day”. Now it is less than 8 months away to 2018 and the company has ceased operating.

 

Exclusively reported by Algae World News

 

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