San Diego-based Sapphire Energy, which is commercializing algae-based crude oil, raised the final tranche of its $144 million Series C investment round, bringing its total backing from private and public sources to over $300 million.
Sapphire is working on a commercial demonstration of a Green Crude Farm in Luna County, New Mexico, which it calls the world's first commercial demonstration scale algae-to-fuel facility for transportation.
The facility integrates the entire value chain of algae-based fuel, from cultivation to production to extraction of ready-to-refine Green Crude.
The company, which CEO Jason Pyle says started from an idea scribbled on the back of a napkin, makes fuel from photosynthetic microorganisms (algae and cyanobacteria), using sunlight and CO2 as their feedstock.
Sapphire is on Forbes "Most Promising Companies" list for 2011. Since 2007, it's been working on algae-based oil that can be refined into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.
All previous investors participated along with Arrowpoint Partners, and an interesting addition, Monsanto, just voted Corporate Fool of the Year, among others.
Sapphire and Monsanto are working together to discover genes from algae that can be applied to agriculture.
Sapphire previously received $100 million from Bill Gate's venture capital firm, Cascade Investments, along with Welcome Trust, Venrock (Rockefeller Family), and ARCH Venture Partners, plus another $100 million in funding from the federal government.
Last month, Sapphire announced it will integrate Earthrise Nutritionals' spirulina strain into its inventory of cyanobacteria and algae strains to expand resources for algae-to-energy production.
In May 2011, Sapphire announced a multi-year agreement with The Linde Group to co-develop a low-cost system to deliver CO2 to commercial-scale, open-pond, algae-to-fuel cultivation systems, now underway at the Green Crude Farm.