Sapphire Energy and The Linde Group have announced a multi-year partnership to co-develop a low-cost system to deliver carbon dioxide (CO2) to commercial-scale, open-pond, algae-to-fuel cultivation systems. Linde, who is a leading supplier of CO2 in the US, will work with Sapphire to reduce the costs incurred when delivering CO2 for commercial-scale open pond algae cultivation. In addition, Linde will supply the CO2 for Sapphire’s commercial demonstration biorefinery in Columbus, New Mexico. A single commercial algae-fuel production facility is estimated to require around 10,000 metric tons of CO2 per day, which is comparable to approximately 30 percent of the current merchant market for CO2 in the U.S.
“Producing fuel by algae using CO2 from large emitters like power stations and chemical plants is a very promising way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dr. Aldo Belloni, member of the Executive board of Linde AG. “We are delighted to be a key partner in Sapphire’s algae-to-biofuel activities. This is one of the many examples for innovative ‘clean energy’ projects that Linde is involved in.”
Sapphire has been developing propriety technology throughout the algae-to-energy value chain including biology, cultivation, harvest, extraction. Focused on green crude drop-in fuels such as jet, diesel and gasoline, Sapphire’s algal biofuels will be compatible with current infrastructure and engines. Algae is a good source of feedstock for biofuels and biochemicals in part because it grows in salty, non-potable water, uses lands not suitable for agriculture and requires only sunlight and CO2 to grow. Sapphire’s technology represents an approximate 70% reduction in lifecycle carbon emissions compared to petroleum-based equivalents.
“The need for new sources of fuel as dependency on oil becomes more and more problematic is clear. To produce algal oil, or ‘green crude’ at the scale to meet growing demand, we need great partners who can supply sufficient and low cost access to CO2,” added Cynthia (C.J.) Warner, president, Sapphire Energy. “Linde has unequaled knowledge in how to efficiently manage the distribution process. Through this collaboration, we are closer to delivering a domestically produced, cost efficient source of algae-based green crude.”
I had the opportunity to visit Sapphire Energy on my San Diego Algae Tour last fall. Click here to see photos.