U.S., Chinese companies join forces to promote algae

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, July 11, 2014

A U.S. algae company and China’s state-owned oil company have partnered together under a State Department initiative to promote economic growth, energy security and environmental sustainability.

According to a statement, Sapphire Energy Inc. and Sinopec Ltd. will seek to show that algae-derived crude is economically feasible and can be used in existing fuel distribution systems. The two companies said they will also show that algae crude can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions in both the United States and China.

Sapphire operates a large algae farm in New Mexico that produces oils from algae, sunlight and carbon dioxide that can be refined into fuel.

Sapphire CEO Cynthia Warner said that the combination of its technology with China’s support for new fuel options and abundant non-farmable land offered a “promising solution” to increased oil demand in China.

“This collaboration between our two companies exemplifies the mutual goal of producing cleaner energy solutions for the U.S. and China,” she said.

The State Department’s EcoPartnerships program is meant to spur replication by other companies in the United States and China. An advisory committee made up of officials from the Departments of State, Energy, Commerce and Transportation, as well as the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and U.S. EPA, selects a few winning projects each year.

Projects are overseen by a secretariat in each country. Both the United States and China will provide funding for this project.