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A.I.M. Interview: Sapphire Energy’s CEO Dr. Jason Pyle

Submitted by on January 24, 2011 – 9:23 amNo Comment

by David Schwartz   (Algae Industry Magazine)   Dr. Jason Pyle, the high profile CEO at the even more high profile “green crude” developer, Sapphire Energy, holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Physiology, as well as an M.D., from Stanford University.

…Dr. Pyle was named Innovator of the Year in 2006 by the global market research firm Frost and Sullivan. Considering he’s running a $200 million algae gamble by our government, in partnership with two high visibility private investor groups, this is a good thing. Many eyes are fixed on him and his superstar executive staff, pursuing their relatively short-term plan of producing large quantities of competitively priced algal biofuels.

…The important feature of the commercial demonstration facility is that all of the unit operations, which will be integrated at that point, are at commercial scale. In this case, the literal size of the first space is only about 100 acres of production, which then leads into the various processing operations. But the important feature is that it is the exact unit operations size and scale that you would use in a commercial facility—you just replicate them, over and over again.

…I believe that the distributed agricultural model will be how we produce 30 or 40 percent of the world’s liquid fuel.

…The actual business model at Sapphire is to only produce crude oil….(that) can be then refined in a normal crude oil refinery, and turned into the products that are being produced by that refinery, namely gasoline, diesel and jet, and then is usable in a practical and safe way by the customers at the end of the distribution network.

…(N)ever quantify productivity in terms of gallons per acre per year. That’s a very false metric. The only metric that actually matters is dollars per kilogram. So it’s: what can you produce the biomass for in dollars per kilogram? And it really doesn’t matter if you are producing 500 gallons per acre per year or 5000 gallons per acre/year if the dollar per kilogram is appropriate.

…One of the things I don’t think everyone has fully grasped yet is, if you are going to take the smokestack off of, say, a coal-fired power plant, you will get no breaks from the EPA. The Clean Air Act applies to you, too. So, in order to take that CO2, or that off gas, and process it, you must know exactly where all the pollutants go, and it’s not just the CO2, it’s the mercury, the vanadium, the uranium, all of the different components that come off of coal-fire gas that the EPA is concerned about. So we are set up in the demonstration to measure all of those effects.  READ MORE

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