Environmental Health & Safety

Linde Aids Algae Fuel Production; Launches Safe Specialty Gases Regulators

Company promotes sustainability and safety.

The Linde Group, Munich, Germany, and San Diego-based Sapphire Energy Inc. have entered into a multi-year agreement to co-develop a low-cost system to deliver carbon dioxide (CO2) to commercial-scale, open-pond, algae-to-fuel cultivation systems. Linde will supply all of the CO2 to Sapphire`s commercial demonstration facility in Columbus, N. M.

Sapphire Energy has developed technology to produce a renewable and low-carbon substitute for fossil-based crude oil. Sapphire’s green crude produces drop-in fuels -- jet, diesel, and gasoline -- that are said to be compatible with existing infrastructure and engines. Algae are grown in salty, non-potable water, using lands not suitable for agriculture, and require only sunlight and CO2 to grow -- all sustainable features that petroleum and most other biofuel options cannot match, says the company. The technology represents an approximate 70% reduction in lifecycle carbon emissions compared to petroleum-based equivalents, it adds.

A single commercial algae-fuel production facility is estimated to require approximately 10,000 metric tons of CO2 per day, which is comparable to approximately 30% of the current merchant market for CO2 in the U.S., according to the companies.

The Linde Group has experience in supplying CO2 for climate- and eco-friendly CO2 recycling applications -- for example, the OCAP project (Organic CO2 for Assimilation by Plants) in the Netherlands. Linde supplies via a 85-km-pipeline around 550 greenhouses with CO2, which is a by-product from a nearby refinery. Linde also develops, designs, plans and constructs pilot and commercial facilities for capturing CO2 from various sources, such as power plants, chemical plants, natural gas processing, biofuel and other plants.

In other news, Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, launched its new range of U.S. GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) and European Union-approved food and pharmaceutical grade specialty gas regulators.

Within the food and pharmaceutical production industries, regulators used in certain food and pharmaceutical processing applications must be made from suitably inert materials to avoid any contamination or chemical reaction with the gas or gas mixture. Linde’s new food and pharmaceutical regulator range has been developed to meet the requirements of the Food and Drug Administration, and are suitable for use with FDA GRAS-approved food additive gases and also with process gases used in pharmaceutical production. The regulators are also in line with European Commission regulation 1935/2004 for food gas packaging applications such as Modified Atmosphere Packaging, the food preservation technique to enhance shelf life.