The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Rip Up the Mortgage: Sapphire Energy Pays Off USDA Loan Guarantee in Full

In California, Sapphire Energy announced it has paid off the loan guarantee awarded to the company by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In Dec. 2009, the company was awarded a $54.5 million loan guarantee through the Biorefinery Assistance Program, administered by the USDA Rural Development-Cooperative Service, to build a fully integrated, algae-to-crude oil commercial demonstration facility in Columbus, New Mexico.

Reached by telephone, Sapphire’s VP for Corporate Affairs, Tim Zenk, confirmed that the company raised an additional round of equity from its current investment group to pay off the loan. “It just makes sense to pay it off, if you have the ability to do so, and save on the interest and debt expense,” he commented. The project continues on track towards producing 100 barrels of crude oil per day in 2015, and at commercial-scale production in 2018.

Key to reaching the company’s goals is the project with Linde to develop, at scale, a new industrial-scale conversion technology needed to upgrade algae biomass into crude oil. Linde has made the decision to invest the engineering time, and in return the two companies will co-market the new technology globally, as well as employing it at the Green Crude Farm.

In partnership with the USDA and the U.S. Department of Energy, Sapphire Energy developed and implemented its facility, known as the Green Crude Farm, on time and on budget. Today, the Farm is operational and producing renewable crude oil on a continuous basis.

As a result of the USDA’s loan guarantee and USDOE’s support, Sapphire Energy is now producing the world’s first renewable crude oil, and is in the process of scaling up the technology.  The operational crude oil farm has led to additional investment in the company and commercial partnerships.   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 early repayment of this loan and on-target development roadmap for Sapphire Energy’s algae crude oil technologies further solidifies the USDA’s role in catalyzing new energy technologies in rural communities, increasing domestic energy production, and creating new jobs.  The USDA’s investment has advanced the use of algae as a feedstock to produce crude oil and as a viable new crop to produce homegrown energy while creating valuable rural economies.

“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 here in the United States, and make our land more productive,” said Doug O’Brien, Acting Under Secretary for Rural Development.

“Sapphire Energy is very grateful to the USDA for supporting algae crude oil as an alternative source of energy as well as our vision to make this industry a reality,” said Cynthia ‘CJ’ Warner, CEO and chairman of Sapphire Energy.  “With their backing, we did exactly what we set out to do.  We grew our company, advanced our algae technologies, and built, on time and on budget, the first, fully operational, commercial demonstration, algae-to-energy facility that delivers a proven process for producing refinery-ready Green Crude oil.  We could not have built this first of a kind facility without the support of the USDA. Moving forward, our focus is on commercializing our technology and expanding operations to bring crude oil production to commercial demonstration scale as planned.”

This article was originally published on Biofuels Digest and was republished with permission.

Read more bioenergy news here.

RELATED ARTICLES

Pope Francis

A 9-Minute Guide To Pope Francis’ Encyclical on Climate Change

Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest Pope Francis issued Laudato si’ (Praise Be to You) On the care for our common home, his second encyclical, concerning Catholic doctrine with respect to climate change, consumerism, and development.
US Capitol

Republicans and Democrats Back Bill to Level the Playing Field for Renewable Energy

Vince Font, Contributing Editor U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Jerry Moran are leading a bipartisan effort to reintroduce tax code legislation aimed at leveling the playing field for renewable energy investment. The Master Limited Partnerships Parity Act w...

US Department of Energy To Fund Bioenergy Technologies Incubators

Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest

In Washington, the US Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy said that it intends to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement entitled “Bioenergy Technologies Incubator 2" (BETO).

Pope Francis

The Common Goals of the Pope and Clean Energy

Paul Stinson, EDF Pope Francis turned a keen eye toward the environment and the problem of climate change with his encyclical,“Laudato Si” (“Praised Be”). As a clean energy advocate, I’m heartened that Pope Francis recognizes the need t...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

SAP for Utilities

The SAP for Utilities conference is the most comprehensive SAP for Utili...

Applying Renewable Energy - Online Training

RENAC Online offers a selection of courses on a wide variety of renewabl...

Mastering RETScreen® 4 for Clean Energy Project Analysis

Hands-on modeling class using RETScreen 4. Michael Ross designed this co...

COMPANY BLOGS

Substrate Feeder for Biogas Facilities

RUD manufactures complete, ready-to-use conveyor systems for transportin...

US Energy Grid Review Finds Needed Upgrades Would Allow More Solar,...

Yesterday (April 21) the U.S. Department of Energy released the first Qu...

Clean Energy Patents Rise in 2014, Solar Tops others, Toyota and GM...

U.S. patents for Clean Energy technologies in 2014 were again at an all ...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS