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Sapphire Sets 2018 as the Deadline for Commercial Scale Production

June 22nd, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Energy-Companies

Sapphire Energy, at the Paris air show 2011, has announced that it aims to produce at commercially viable levels within seven years and to promote its algae-derived renewable jet fuel. Sapphire’s Green Crude is a drop-in fuel produced from algae, using sunlight and carbon dioxide as a feedstock.

Sapphire is building an integrated algal biorefinery in New Mexico that will produce 3.8 million litres (1 million US gal) a year, or 65 bbl/day, of Green Crude from 2015. However, to attain commercial scale production, the $135 million project, will need to increase this to 5,000 bbl per day.

“It is quite reasonable to expect commercial production by 2018,” said Sapphire vice-president of corporate affairs Tim Zenk. The company hopes to secure purchase agreements from refiners for its product in 2013 or 2014. According to Zenk, the recent preliminary approval of hydrotreated renewable jet fuels for commercial aviation by certificating body ASTM International was a “really important step”, and added that production only matters now.

An agreement signed earlier in the show between 10 airlines and US bioenergy firm Solena to purchase jet fuel derived from waste biomass has helped to change Sapphire’s mind on the likelihood of airlines becoming key customers for its product.

Sapphire chief executive Jason Pyle had previously described the commercial airline industry as an unattractive customer because of its tendency to shy away from long-term contracts. However, Zenk said during the show that their perception has since changed.




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