Construction of the Sapphire Energy Integrated Algal Biorefinery (IABR) began in June 2011 in Luna County, near Columbus, New Mexico. Sapphire Energy was awarded a $50 million grant from the Department of Energy and a $54.4 million dollar loan guarantee from the Department of Agriculture, which were used to help fund the IABR.
Through a partnership with Earthrise Nutritionals, the first algal strain grown was Spirulina. Following this, strain SE00107 (Desmodesmus sp.) was cultivated continuously for over 22 months. In 2014, Sapphire Energy transitioned to cultivation of Nannochloropsis. The IABR produced over 500 tonnes of algal biomass.
From 2009-2017, Sapphire Energy also operated the Las Cruces Test Site (LCTS) in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where strains and processes were tested prior to use at the IABR. The LCTS also provided technical support to the IABR for various activities such as Quality Assurance/Quality Control and crop protection. The Process Development unit used to convert algal biomass to crude oil was also sited at the LCTS and produced over 2000 gallons of "Green Crude" that had many of the properties found in fossil crude oil.
In 2017, the IABR was sold to Green Stream Farms, who continue to cultivate algae on the site.
The files provided here contain various published and unpublished observations, reports, procedures, and design documents related to algal cultivation at the two New Mexico sites.