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Sapphire green oil facility up and running

Algae-based green crude oil producers Sapphire Energy’s first phase of its Green Crude Farm, which it claims is the world’s first commercial demonstration algae-to-energy facility, is now operational.

The construction of this first phase began on 1 June last year and was completed on time and on budget. The  facility aims to produce 1.5 million gallons per year of crude oil and consist of approximately 300 acres of algae cultivation ponds and processing facilities.

‘Bringing our Green Crude Farm online is not only an important accomplishment for us, but a critical step toward a viable alternative energy future,’ says Sapphire CEO Cynthia Warner. ‘What was once a concept is now becoming a reality and model for growing algae to make a renewable crude oil for energy. We look forward to sharing our progress as the facility moves to its next stage.’

The Green Crude Farm was funded with both private and public funds, including $85 million (€53.8 million) in private investment from Sapphire Energy backed by a USDA loan guarantee and a $50 million grant from the US DOE.

Its cultivation area consists of groupings of 1.1 acre and 2.2 acre ponds which are 1/8 of a mile long. The initial phase also includes all the necessary mechanical and processing equipment needed to harvest and extract algae and recycle water for the 300 acre Green Crude Farm.