CEO Jason Pyle Provides Testimony to Senate Energy Committee Hearing on ‘Food vs. Fuel’ Debate
Washington, DC – June 12, 2008 – Jason Pyle, CEO of Sapphire Energy, today testified before the full U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources that the biofuel debate around ‘food versus fuel’ can be effectively solved if Congress adopts standards that encourage the growth and development of all new alternative energy technologies. Current renewable fuel standards are ‘technology specific’, and provide incentives to only certain categories of alternative biofuels, such as corn for ethanol or soybeans for biodiesel. Pyle urged adoption of a ‘technology neutral’ stance in new regulation and legislation.
“The way out of the ‘food versus fuel’ debate is to start a dialogue about how to support truly sustainable alternative fuel sources,” said Pyle.
“A growing, competitive market is the best solution to separate winners from losers in the critical quest to find new forms of alternative fuel. A subsidy system should support a constantly changing landscape of fuels and fuel technologies.
“New technologies will allow us to transcend this Pyrrhic choice between food and energy.”
The world’s first renewable gasoline
Sapphire Energy announced last month it has developed the world’s first completely renewable gasoline made from sunlight, CO2, and photosynthetic microorganisms such as algae. The end result — high-value hydrocarbons chemically identical to those in gasoline — are entirely compatible with the current energy infrastructure, from cars to refineries and pipelines.
“Our goal is to produce a renewable fuel without the downsides of current biofuel approaches,” said Pyle.
Not biodiesel, not ethanol. And no crops or farm land required.
The Sapphire platform offers vast advantages – scientific, economic and social – over traditional biofuel approaches.
As Pyle emphasized during today’s hearing, Sapphire’s technology requires no ‘food vs. fuel’ tradeoff. The process is not dependent on food crops or valuable farmland, and is highly water efficient.
Pyle noted that when Congress first adopted the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005, it wisely recognized that neither biodiesel nor ethanol would be the final solution. It created the program as a bridge to a new generation of fuels, and established a system of incentives to create a marketplace for new technologies. Congress’ task now is to determine whether these mechanisms will support the development of fuels that give America true energy independence and don’t impact agriculture and the global supply of food.
“The wave of the future is in fuel technologies that don’t compete with farmland,” he said. “And that will require the full support of incentives that are neutral and fair.”
About Sapphire Energy
Sapphire Energy was founded to address the overwhelming inadequacies of current biofuel approaches and the profound costs of American dependence on foreign oil. The company has built a revolutionary platform using sunlight, CO2 and microorganisms such as algae to produce renewable, 91 octane gasoline that meets ASTM standards; it is not ethanol and not biodiesel. Sapphire is led by an interdisciplinary team of entrepreneurs and experts in cell biology, plant genomics and algal production, as well as investors with long histories of taking innovative technology to market, including co-founder ARCH Venture Partners, along with the Wellcome Trust and Venrock. Sapphire’s scientific supporters include The Scripps Research Institute; University of California, San Diego; the University of Tulsa, and the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Project. The company is located in San Diego. For more information, visit www.sapphireenergy.com and www.greencrudeproduction.com.