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Sapphire Energy closes $144M Series C investment round


Jim Lane, BiofuelsDigest

In California, Sapphire Energy announced that it has secured the final tranche of a $144 million Series C investment funding. The Series C backers include Arrowpoint Partners, Monsanto, and other undisclosed investors. All major Series B investors have participated.

This round of funding is being used to directly support Sapphire Energy’s active and on-schedule commercial demonstration in Luna County, New Mexico. The Green Crude Farm, also known as the Integrated Algal BioRefinery (IABR), is the world’s first commercial demonstration scale algae-to-energy facility, integrating the entire value chain of algae-based fuel, from cultivation to production to extraction of ready-to-refine Green Crude. Some proceeds from previous closes of the Series C financing already have been invested in Sapphire Energy’s continuing operations.

This announcement follows several recent partnerships and deals supporting Sapphire Energy’s continued expansion in Green Crude production. Last month, Sapphire announced it will integrate Earthrise Nutritionals’ spirulina strain into its growing 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. In March 2011, Sapphire and Monsanto entered into a multi-year collaboration on algae-based research projects. Sapphire also 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.

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