Algae-based crude oil producer Sapphire Energy, Inc., has entered into a licensing agreement with Earthrise Nutritionals LLC, a producer of spirulina and spirulina-based products for more than 25 years. Sapphire Energy will integrate Earthrise Nutritionals’ spirulina strain into its growing inventory of cyanobacteria and algae strains for algae-to-energy production.
As a result of this agreement, Sapphire Energy will improve its operational efficiency by expanding the range of strain choices available for producing Sapphire Energy’s Green Crude—a drop-in replacement for petroleum-based crude oil—that can be refined into diesel, jet fuel, and gasoline.
Until now, spirulina has been used primarily for making nutraceuticals, such as dietary supplements, and food products. Sapphire Energy says that its proprietary processing technology is able to utilize spirulina for green crude production for the first time, due to its methods for processing different strains of algae and cyanobacteria that result in significantly higher oil yields than previously achievable. Adding Earthrise’s prokaryotic strain (cyanobacteria) to Sapphire’s own inventory of prokaryotic and eukaryotic (green algae) strains will enable Sapphire to produce fuel more efficiently at its Integrated Algal BioRefinery (IABR), now under construction in New Mexico.