The Linde Group and Sapphire Energy, Inc., one of the world’s leaders in algae-based crude oil, have entered into a multi-year agreement to co-develop a low-cost system to deliver carbon dioxide (CO2) to commercial-scale, open-pond, algae-to-fuel cultivation systems.

Through a joint press release issued recently, it is understood that Linde will partner with Sapphire Energy to reduce the costs associated with the delivery of anthropogenic CO2 for commercial-scale open pond algae cultivation.

In addition, Linde will supply all of the CO2 to Sapphire`s commercial demonstration facility in Columbus, New Mexico.

“Producing fuel by algae using CO2 from large emitters like power stations and chemical plants is a very promising way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dr Aldo Belloni, member of the Executive board of Linde AG.

“We are delighted to be a key partner in Sapphire’s algae-to-biofuel activities. This is one of the many examples for innovative ‘clean energy’ projects that Linde is involved in.”

Sapphire Energy has developed proprietary technology along the entire algae-to-energy value chain from biology, cultivation, harvest and extraction, to refining, resulting in a highly scalable process to produce a renewable and low carbon substitute for fossil-based crude oil. Sapphire’s green crude produces drop-in fuels – jet, diesel, and gasoline – that are completely compatible with existing infrastructure and engines.

Algae are grown in salty, non-potable water, using lands not suitable for agriculture, and require only sunlight and CO2 to grow, all sustainable features which petroleum and most other biofuel options cannot match. Sapphire’s technology represents an approximate 70% reduction in lifecycle carbon emissions compared to petroleum-based equivalents.

“The need for new sources of fuel as dependency on oil becomes more and more problematic is clear,” said Cynthia (C.J.) Warner, President of Sapphire Energy.

“To produce algal oil, or ‘green crude’ at the scale to meet growing demand, we need great partners who can supply sufficient and low cost access to CO2.”

Warner added, “Linde has unequalled knowledge in how to efficiently manage the distribution process. Through this collaboration, we are closer to delivering a domestically produced, cost efficient source of algae-based green crude.”

A single commercial algae-fuel production facility is estimated to require approximately 10,000 metric tons of CO2 per day, which is comparable to approximately 30% of the current merchant market for CO2 in the US, the joint statement says.