The technology group The Linde Group and Sapphire Energy, Inc., one of the world’s leaders in algae-based crude oil, today announced that they have entered into a multi-year agreement to co-develop a low-cost system to deliver carbon dioxide (CO2) to commercial-scale, open-pond, algae-to-fuel cultivation systems.
Linde, the leading merchant CO2 supplier in the U.S., will partner with Sapphire Energy, to reduce the costs associated with the delivery of anthropogenic CO2 for commercial-scale open pond algae cultivation. In addition, Linde will supply all of the CO2 to Sapphire`s commercial demonstration facility in Columbus, New Mexico.
“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.”
“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,” said Cynthia (C.J.) Warner, president, Sapphire Energy. “Linde has unequalled 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.”
Sapphire Energy has developed proprietary technology along the entire algae-to-energy value chain from biology, cultivation, harvest and extraction, to refining, resulting in a highly scalable process to produce a renewable and low carbon substitute for fossil-based crude oil. Sapphire’s green crude produces drop-in fuels – jet, diesel, and gasoline – that are completely compatible with existing infrastructure and engines. Algae are grown in salty, non-potable water, using lands not suitable for agriculture, and require only sunlight and CO2 to grow, all sustainable features which petroleum and most other biofuel options cannot match. Sapphire’s technology represents an approximate 70% reduction in lifecycle carbon emissions compared to petroleum-based equivalents.
A single commercial algae-fuel production facility is estimated to require approximately 10,000 metric tons of CO2 per day, which is comparable to approximately 30% of the current merchant market for CO2 in the U.S.
The Linde Group has a wealth of experience in the cost-efficient supply of CO2 for climate- and eco-friendly CO2 recycling applications. The OCAP project (Organic CO2 for Assimilation by Plants) in the Netherlands is a case in point. Here, Linde supplies via a 85-km-pipeline around 550 greenhouses with CO2, which is a by-product from a nearby refinery. Linde also develops, designs, plans and constructs pilot and commercial facilities for capturing CO2 from various sources, such as power plants, chemical plants, natural gas processing, biofuel and other plants.
About the Linde Group
The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 48,700 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2010 financial year, it achieved sales of EUR 12.868 bn (USD 17.9 bn). The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards sustainable earnings-based growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. Linde is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.
About Sapphire Energy
San Diego-based Sapphire Energy is pioneering an entirely new industry – Green Crude Production – with the potential to profoundly change America’s energy and petrochemical landscape for the better. Sapphire’s products and processes in this category differ significantly from other forms of biofuel because they are made solely from photosynthetic microorganisms (algae), using sunlight and CO2 as their feedstock; are not dependent on food crops or valuable farmland; do not use potable water; do not result in biodiesel or ethanol; enhance and replace petroleum-based products; and are low carbon, renewable and scalable. In December 2009, Sapphire was awarded nearly $104.5 million 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.
Source: Linde, press release, 2011-05-11.