Owner’s Engineer for Integrated Algal Biorefinery in Columbus, NM.

Sapphire Energy needed an Owner’s Engineer to demonstrate scale facility utilizing their biotechnology for the production of fungible, drop-in transportation fuels through the cultivation of algae and conversion of algal oil.

The project included 300 acres of open ponds to grow algae, converting the algal biomass into 100 barrels per day of green crude which was refined into liquid transportation fuels.

How We Did It

Harris Group was able to leverage its experience from other, more established industries to create solutions for many of Sapphire’s process development challenges. Harris Group brought technologies from the pulp and paper, food and petroleum industries to bridge gaps in the client’s process.

Harris Group provided Owner’s Engineering service for the Integrated Algal Biorefinery (IABR) including process development, front-end loading, cost estimating, detailed engineering design, project integration, start-up assistance and support in developing successful applications for a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The client was in start-up mode with multiple levels of development occurring in parallel. Design of the demonstration facility had to begin while the technology was still in laboratory development. Sapphire’s core competency is in biotechnology. Harris Group provided the engineering expertise to complement Sapphire’s technical ability and the horsepower to execute the IABR without an internal engineering staff.

Harris Group provided the engineering expertise to complement the client's technical ability. 

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