Linde, Sapphire Energy to develop algae-to-crude process technology

Sapphire Energy, one of the world leaders in algae-based "green" crude oil production, is teaming up with technology company The Linde Group to expand their partnership for the commercialization of a new industrial-scale conversion technology to upgrade algae biomass into crude oil.

In the announcement made Tuesday, the companies said they will refine the hydrothermal treatment process developed and operated today by Sapphire Energy at pilot scale.

In addition, they will jointly license and market the technology into an expanded list of industries, including algae, municipal solid waste and farm waste in order to upgrade other biomass sources into energy. 

“Sapphire Energy is very pleased to build upon its already successful strategic partnership with Linde to build a commercial oil upgrading process designed to increase yield and lower the cost of crude oil production,” said Cynthia ‘CJ’ Warner, CEO of Sapphire Energy.

“Large energy projects like we are building require very significant partnerships to fund the development of new technologies and make available engineering resources needed to bring these projects on line at commercial scale," she added. "We think Linde is a perfect partner to help Sapphire achieve this goal.”

The agreement spans a minimum of five years through the development of Sapphire Energy’s first commercial scale, algae-to-energy production facility.

“We have been working with Sapphire Energy for two years to develop a cost-efficient CO2 delivery system for commercial algae production," said Dr. Aldo Belloni, executive board member for Linde.  

"We have become confident with the company’s expertise and its capability to produce a low carbon and economic energy source from algae," he added. "After the positive experience gained, we decided to intensify our cooperation with Sapphire. Based upon our profound engineering expertise, we will contribute to further develop and scale up Sapphire’s algae-to-crude-oil technology.”

This growing partnership builds upon Linde’s and Sapphire Energy’s agreement to develop a low-cost CO2 management system for open pond algae-to-fuel production, which was previously announced in May 2011.

Linde, the leading merchant CO2 supplier in the US, also became the exclusive supplier of CO2 for Sapphire Energy`s commercial demonstration, algae-to-energy facility in Columbus, New Mexico. Today, the 'green crude farm' is operating year-round and producing barrels of crude oil daily.

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