After maiden commercial flights this week on a blend of algae biofuels, Sapphire Energy is building a plant to produce more of the "green crude oil" to replace fossil fuels in diesel and jet fuels.
Sapphire Energy has been awarded a USDA loan guarantee to build a $135 million plant in New Mexico that will produce algae "green crude oil" – for use in transportation.
The project is intended to advance a US industry that makes commercial-scale biofuels to fight climate change, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and create rural green jobs.
Sapphire will build an algal biorefinery to produce "drop-in" biofuels – which simply substitute for fossil fuels without the need for new delivery infrastructure or engines.
The plant will produce at least a million gallons of algal oil a year and will be refined by Dynamic Fuels on Louisiana’s Gulf coast.
USDA’s Biorefinery Assistance Program issued a 80% guarantee on a $54.5 million loan in 2009, which has now closed.
The US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) has a goal of producing 36 billion gallons of biofuels a year by 2022, of which 21 billion gallons must be advanced biofuels such as algae.
USDA is working with the Department of the Navy and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to incorporate biofuels into their fuel mix.