July 2, 2012
DIC Group to Supply Outdoor Mass Cultivation Expertise for Spirulina
Tokyo, Japan－DIC Corporation announced today that California-based wholly owned subsidiary Earthrise Nutritionals, LLC and Sapphire Energy, Inc., one of the world leaders in algae-based crude oil production , have entered into a licensing agreement1. Per the agreement, Sapphire Energy will integrate Earthrise Nutritionals’ Spirulina2 strain into its growing inventory of cyanobacteria and algae strains for algae-to-energy production, otherwise known as Green Crude, a drop-in replacement for petroleum-based crude oil that can be refined into diesel, jet fuel, and gasoline.
Biofuels produced from algae are attracting considerable attention as a promising clean energy source. Biofuels from feedstocks like algae do not require the diversion of crops grown primarily for food. Instead, algae farming for biofuels is done using non-arable land such as a desert. Another benefit of algae is that CO2 consumed by algae during the cultivation process reduces by 70% the total carbon dioxide in the process, meaning that on a life cycle of carbon dioxide basis fuels derived from algae crude oil are at least 70% less3 carbon intense then fuels derived from petroleum. Moreover, algae can yield on a per-acre basis, 10-20 times more4 biofuel than other feedstocks, such as trees, switchgrass, corn ethanol and stover and the oils produced by algae can be directly refined into diesel and jet fuel. The United States, in particular, has acknowledged the potential of algae biofuels as a stable, secure energy source for the future and the Environmental Protection Agency has determined algae derived fuels are classified as an advanced biofuel under U.S. federal law.
Well known as the world’s largest supplier of Spirulina, the DIC group has been producing Spirulina for use in health foods and food colorings since the 1970s. Earthrise Nutritionals boasts an 180,000-m2 Spirulina farm—the world’s largest—and is recognized as the only company in the continental United States that has succeeded in the mass cultivation of algae in outdoor raceway ponds.
Sapphire Energy is regarded as one of the leading algae biofuel company in the United States, using open ponds to produce Green Crude oil. Its Green Crude Farm, also known as the Integrated Algal BioRefinery (IABR), is the world's first commercial demonstration scale algae-to-energy facility, integrating the entire value chain of algae-based fuel, from cultivation to production to extraction of ready-to-refine Green Crude. Funding for the Green Crude Farm is by both significant private investment and government support. Including Earthrise's prokaryotic strain (cyanobacteria) to Sapphire's own inventory of prokaryotic and eukaryotic (green algae) strains will improve the company’s operational efficiency by expanding the range of strain choices available for producing Green Crude oil used to produce diesel and jet fuel.
Working both independently and in collaboration with other companies, DIC will continue leveraging its own and Earthrise Nutritionals’ expertise in the outdoor mass-cultivation of Spirulina to support and participate in R&D aimed at the commercialization of algae biofuels.
1. The licensing agreement between Earthrise Nutritionals and Sapphire Energy is nonexclusive.
2. Spirulina is a type of algae that thrives in lakes in tropical and subtropical parts of Africa and Central and South America and is cultivated worldwide. Naturally blue-green in color, Spirulina is also a rich source of minerals and vitamins.
3. Sapphire estimates
4. Sapphire estimates
About DIC Corporation
Formerly known as Dainippon Ink & Chemicals, Incorporated, Tokyo-based DIC Corporation was founded in 1908 as a manufacturer of printing inks and has grown up to a diversified manufacturer of specialty chemicals with a leading position in its principal global markets, which include printing inks, organic pigments and engineering plastic such as PPS compounds, among others. DIC Corporation is also the core of the DIC Group, a multinational organization with a global network comprising companies in approximately 60 countries, including U.S-based Sun Chemical Corp. Consolidated net sales for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 was 734.3 billion yen. Current balance of capital stock is 911.5 billion yen.
For more information, visit http://www.dic-global.com/.
About Earthrise Nutritionals, LCC
Irvine-based Earthrise Nutritionals, LCC is a wholly owned subsidiary of DIC Corporation and has been engaged in manufacturing of edible algae Spirulina.
About Sapphire Energy, Inc.
San Diego-based Sapphire Energy is pioneering an entirely new industry – Green Crude Production. Sapphire’s products and processes in this category differ significantly from other forms of biofuel because they are made solely from photosynthetic microorganisms (algae and cyanobacteria), using sunlight and CO2 as their feedstock; are not dependent on food crops or valuable farmland; do not result in biodiesel or ethanol; enhance and replace petroleum-based products; are compatible with existing infrastructure; and are low carbon, renewable and scalable. Sapphire has an R&D facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
For more information, visit www.sapphireenergy.com.