San Diego, CA (Feb. 29, 2012) – Sapphire Energy, Inc., today announced it has entered into a licensing agreement with Earthrise Nutritionals LLC, a producer of spirulina and spirulina- based products for over 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 significantly improves 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.
With Sapphire Energy’s proprietary processing technology, the ability to utilize spirulina, also known as “blue-green algae” or “cyanobacteria,” for green crude production is now possible for the first time. This is due to the company’s invention of new methods for processing different strains of algae and cyanobacteria that result in significantly higher oil yields than previously achievable. Until now, spirulina, has been used primarily for making nutra-ceuticals, such as dietary supplements, and food products. 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.
“This agreement is an example of Sapphire Energy’s ‘whole value chain’ strategy to integrate biotechnology, agriculture and engineering to deliver a sustainable system for Green Crude production from algae and cyanobacteria,” said CJ Warner, President of Sapphire Energy. “As a respected leader in agricultural science and a pioneer in spirulina production, Earthrise Nutritionals is the right choice for us to work with as we ready our platform for marketable scale algae cultivation and oil extraction.”
“There is no doubt about the opportunity for algae-based alternative fuel, and the fact that Earthrise Nutritionals, with its long-standing expertise in cultivating blue-algae strains, can help drive its availability is a development we embrace fully,” said Hiro Mochizuki, President and CEO of Earthrise Nutritionals LLC. “We’re pleased to be working with Sapphire Energy in their effort to move the market for this much-needed resource forward.”