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Sapphire Energy pays off government loan guarantee

Green crude producer Sapphire Energy (SE) has paid off the entire loan guarantee it was awarded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in December 2009.

SE was awarded a $54.5 million (€41 million) loan guarantee through the Biorefinery Assistance Programme, administered by the USDA Rural Development-Cooperative Service, to build a fully integrated, algae-to-crude oil commercial demonstration facility in New Mexico. It is fully operational and producing renewable crude oil on a continuous basis.

The company repaid the remaining loan balance in full after receiving additional equity from private investors, making the loan no longer necessary to complete the next, planned phase of development.

‘The investments being made in low-carbon biofuel production are paying off and moving technologies forward, which will produce savings at the pump for consumers, and spur sustainable, new-wealth creation in the US, and make our land more productive,’ says Doug O’Brien, acting under secretary for rural development.

‘We are grateful to the USDA for supporting algae crude oil and, with that backing we did exactly what we set out to do,’ says Cynthia Warner, SE chairman. ‘We grew our company, advanced our algae technologies and built, on time and on budget, this first-of-a-kind facility with its support. Moving forward, our focus is on commercialising our technology and expanding operations to bring crude oil production to commercial demonstration scale as planned.’