Biofuels Digest’s 2012 New Feedstock (Demonstration) Award: Sapphire Energy’s Green Crude Farm, Columbus, NM

December 31, 2012 |

BD-2012-AwardsIn August, Sapphire Energy announced that the first phase of its Green Crude Farm, the world’s first commercial demonstration algae-to-energy facility, is now operational in Columbus. Construction of this first phase, which began on June 1, 2011, was completed on time and on budget.

As locations go, Columbus, New Mexico is hard to find but is a pretty good place to stage the first attempt, here on Planet Earth, to cultivate crude oil as an agricultural crop. Let’s say that again – growing crude oil as an agricultural crop. It’s never been done before. Not a crop for something to eat, or to wear, or for materials for walls or floors – but something that is deep inside all three: energy itself.

To do so, three partners are attempting to do something else that has never been achieved before – using algae as a major, global crop platform – not on the scale that has produced vitamin and nutritional supplements, but on the scale and at the costs more closely associated with the dozen or so great staple crops around the world. Which is to say, this is a tall order. A monumental, change the world attempt.

The partners? The US Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture and the private investors behind Sapphire Energy

READ MORE: All about the project, here.

The Complete 2012 Biofuels Digest Awards

Best Project – Thermochemical
Best Project – Fermentation
Best Project – Hybrid
Best Project (demonstration)
Best Project (pilot)

Best Technology Extension
Best New Fuel
Best Retrofit
Process Improvement
Pretreatment Technology

Yield Improvement
Industrial Symbiosis
New Trait
New Feedstock
New Feedstock (Demonstration)

New Feedstock (Trial)
Consumer Product of the Year (biobased)
Consumer Product of the Year (biofuels)
Partnership of the Year
Special Editor’s Award – Comeback of the year

Special Editor’s Award – Sustainable technology
Book of the Year

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