Gates injects $100 million in algae company

By Kris Bevill
Web exclusive posted Sept. 19, 2008 at 10:23 a.m. CST

Sapphire Energy announced that upon recent completion of its second round of funding, the company has since acquired "substantially more than $100 million" to be used to commercialize its algae-to-green-crude production.

Contributing to the second round of funding were existing and new investors, including Cascade Investments LLC, an investment holding company owned by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.

Sapphire's goal is to produce its green crude on a commercial-scale within five years. The end-product is similar to light sweet crude and can be used interchangeably in today's infrastructure. According to Sapphire, the ingredients required to create its fuel are sunlight, carbon dioxide, microorganisms (algae), non-arable land and non-potable water.

"We are creating an entirely new category of energy and are now at a point where we can focus on implementing our plans without worrying about fundraising," Sapphire's Chief Executive Officer Jason Pyle said.

The company recently established a test and research site in southeastern New Mexico. The location of its first commercial facility has yet to be determined.