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Sapphire Energy Statement Regarding New Study on Algae Crude Oil Environmental and Energy Benefits  

Friday, September 20, 2013

(San Diego, CA) – Today the Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) announced the results of a collaborative study that determined algae biofuels offer a competitive energy return on investment (EROI) and a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when compared to petroleum and other biofuels. The study, “Life Cycle Assessment of Transportation Fuel Production from Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Algae Grown in Open Ponds,” conducted by scientists from the University of Virginia, Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of San Diego, Embori Group, LLC, and Sapphire Energy, Inc., examines the potential lifecycle assessment (LCA) for environmental and energy yield values of commercial scale algae-to-energy production. It is the first study of its kind to be based on real world field data from Sapphire Energy’s pilot and demonstration scale facilities in New Mexico.

“The algae fuel industry is moving steadily on its path towards commercialization, with an estimated 68% reduction in GHG emissions on a lifecycle basis at commercial scale. Today policy makers can confidently project the sustainability of fuels produced from algae,” said Tim Zenk, vice president of corporate affairs at Sapphire Energy. “The results of this study, which included the review of thousands of hours of real world data collected from our facilities, should eliminate any doubt or conjecture that algae fuels have very substantive GHG reduction benefits without the uncomfortable trade-offs found in many other biofuel solutions. This research team was able to accurately depict the sustainability of a large scale algae-to-energy pathway, and make estimates based on sound science that GHG emissions benchmarks are excellent at today’s scale and will improve over time as industry makes improvements to the process. Sapphire Energy is proud to be a part of this incredibly important study which provides the most accurate picture to-date on the value and future potential for algae crude oil as an alternative to petroleum.”

Link to the Study

About Sapphire Energy

San Diego-based Sapphire Energy is pioneering an entirely new industry – Green Crude production – with the potential to profoundly change America’s energy and petrochemical landscape for the better. Sapphire’s products and processes in this category differ significantly from other forms of biofuel because they are made solely from photosynthetic microorganisms (algae and cyanobacteria), using sunlight and CO2 as their feedstock; are not dependent on food crops or valuable farmland; do not use potable water; do not result in biodiesel or ethanol; enhance and replace petroleum-based products; are compatible with existing infrastructure; and are low carbon, renewable and scalable. Sapphire has an R&D facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and is currently operating the first Integrated Algal BioRefinery in Columbus, New Mexico, continuously since May 1, 2012. For more information, visit

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