Sapphire Energy selected as an EcoPartner with Sinopec

By Erin Voegele | July 16, 2014

Sapphire Energy Inc. has announced that its algae-derived renewable crude project with Sinopec, China’s state-owned oil and gas conglomerate, was selected for the U.S.-China EcoPartnerships Program. The project is one of six new U.S.-China partners welcomed into the flagship EcoPartnerships Program during a signing ceremony in Beijing on July 10.

According to information released by the U.S. Department of State, the EcoPartnerships Program promotes cooperation between U.S. and Chinese sub-national actors who work on clean energy, climate change, and environmental protection, to help address some of the biggest challenges facing our two countries. 

“This collaboration between our two companies exemplifies the mutual goal of producing cleaner energy solutions for the U.S. and China,” said Cynthia Warner, CEO of Sapphire Energy. “Together, we will demonstrate that crude oil from algae can be produced with favorable economics; that it can be integrated into existing fuels distribution networks; and that it will deliver substantial advantages for the reduction of CO2 emissions in both nations.”

“Projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that China, the world’s most populous country, will be the largest importer of oil in 2014. The need for renewable, sustainable and low carbon energy solutions to meet growing demand is vital. Given China’s leadership and strong support for embracing new, clean, sustainable fuel options, along with the country’s abundant availability of non-farmable land and non-potable water, Sapphire Energy’s proven algae-to-energy technology platform offers a promising solution,” Warner continued. “I want to thank U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, State Councilor of the People's Republic of China Yang Jiechi, and all the representatives from both countries for their work in moving this EcoPartnership forward. We’re ready to get to work.”

In his remarks at the signing ceremony, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry noted that “tackling climate change and leading the way to a clean energy future can be a ‘win, win, win’—a win for America, a win for China, and a win for the world.”

The Algae Biomass Organization has spoken out to congratulate Sapphire Energy on its agreement with Sinopec. “This partnership is the latest example of how algae technology developed here in the United States is being sought after around the world. By leveraging Sapphire’s technology to convert waste CO2 into green crude oil, the companies are helping reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions while creating a new source of renewable fuel. This endeavor should serve as a model for other countries—including the US—to follow, especially in light of new EPA regulations for the reduction of CO2 from coal and natural gas powered electricity generation,” the ABO said in a statement. “ABO and its membership strongly urge the US EPA to recognize carbon reutilization as an approved mitigation strategy under rule 111(d). Doing so will accelerate the development and adoption of algae-based technologies that convert waste CO2 into a variety of end products that consumers need, from fuel to feed to food, creating thousands of jobs in nearly every state, reducing the harmful effects of climate change, and increasing our nation’s energy and food security.”

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