Sapphire pays off USDA loan guarantee early
Sapphire Energy Inc. has paid of its entire $54.5 million USDA loan guarantee. The company was awarded the guarantee in late 2009 under the USDA’s Biorefinery Assistance Program to support the construction of a fully integrated, algae-to-crude oil commercial demonstration facility in Columbus, N.M.
The Green Crude Farm was completed on time and on budget, and is currently producing renewable crude oil on a continuous basis. According to Sapphire, the operational crude oil farm has led to additional investment in the company and commercial partnerships. Sapphire repaid the remaining loan balance in full after receiving additional equity from private investors.
The company also recently announced that it is expanding its partnership with The Linde Group to commercialize a new industrial-scale conversion technology needed to upgrade algae biomass into crude oil. Together, the companies will refine the hydrothermal treatment process developed by Sapphire. That process sis currently operating at the pilot scale.