Algae Farm

Green Crude Farm panorama

In the desert scrub outside of Columbus, New Mexico, Sapphire Energy is commissioning the most advanced, algae production facility in the world. Sapphire Energy’s Algae Farm is the world’s first commercial demonstration scale algae conversion farm, integrating the entire value chain of algae-based production, from cultivation, to production, to extraction. 

Private / Public Partnership

Led by private investment, Sapphire was awarded a $50 million grant from the Department of Energy and a $54.4 million dollar loan guarantee from the Department of Agriculture, providing security for a privately funded loan. The algae farm in Columbus, NM will be viable for growing, extracting and refining algae into a carefully planned product mix. The overall goal of Sapphire’s algae farm is to provide commercial scale support for our entry into global nutrition markets.

The algae produced at the farm will demonstrate the commercial viability for the technology.

Sapphire’s commercial demonstration facility is entering its first stage of operations. The facility is on-schedule and on-budget. The demonstration begins its phase 1 with the inoculation of its first pond systems and a series of “shake-down-testing” continuing through 2012 with scale up operations and expansion of farming operations into 2013 to the full 100 acres.

Location Columbus, NM
Feedstock(s) CO2/Algae/Sunlight/Non-Potable Water
Size 56 metric tons of CO2 per day; 300 cultivated acres
Primary Products Omega oils and high value protein
Capacity 1,600 tonnes of biomass per year
Operations Phase 1 began with the inoculation of the first 100 acres of pond systems and a series of “shake-down-testing” Phase 2 of the project will begin to scale up and expand farming operations.

When fully operational, the commercial site will beneficially reuse CO2 to produce Omega oils and protein from algae. The algae will consume approximately 56 metric tons of CO2 per day and produce, on average, 130 tonnes of Omega oils per year. At this scale, Sapphire will be able to fully vet the production processes and techno-economics, yielding a template for even larger commercial facilities. It is a measured and effective approach to becoming a permanent form of nutritional oils and protein for the world.

The Green Crude Farm is a fully sustainable project. Biomass not used in the production of fuel will be recycled as nutrients to support the algae ponds. Reintroducing the residual biomass to the pond systems significantly lowers overall fertilizer requirements and carbon footprint.

As technology is proven and economies of scale are achieved, the design and construction of the first commercial site will by 2017, be operating its full 100 acre capacity.