Costa Rica Advances in the Development of Transport Based on Green Hydrogen

    Technical studies have been carried out to confirm the niches and potential role of hydrogen vehicles in the country

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    The Hydrogen Alliance, a group of public and private companies from different sectors, was formed in 2019 to contribute to Costa Rica´s goal of achieving the decarbonization of the economy. This Alliance has been working on the development of projects and technical studies that will allow the consolidation of green hydrogen in the country.

    Edgar Rivera, coordinator of the Alliance, commented that currently 22 companies are part of the initiative. This was born thanks to the non-reimbursable technical cooperation agreement between the Innovation Laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB Lab), and the Costa Rica United States of America Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), as well as with the support of the Foundation of Toyota Mobility (TMF).

    “Currently in the Alliance we are working with Grupo Purdy, Fundación CRUSA, Invermaster and Ad Astra Rocket, in an initiative that will generate supply and demand for hydrogen simultaneously, through the installation of a production plant and the dispensing of green hydrogen. The project is already in a phase of seeking investors, as well as negotiating with potential suppliers and buyers of the product,” said Rivera.

    Hydrogen ecosystem

    The company Ad Astra Rocket Company, a member of this union of organizations, has led since 2011 the development of the Hydrogen Transportation Ecosystem of Costa Rica, the first demonstration of its kind in the country and which is located in Liberia.

    Currently, the Ecosystem consists of a solar generation park, an electrolyzer for the generation of green hydrogen and a 350 bar hydrogen gas dispenser (pressure unit), which are used by a pilot fleet consisting of a bus and four cars. hydrogen electrics.

    A new project

    “We are developing a new project, a pioneer of its kind in the entire Latin American region, which consists of expanding the current plant by installing a new 700 bar dispenser. This will also include all the necessary infrastructure, such as the high-pressure storage tank and a hydrogen cooler,” explained Rivera.

    The 700bar dispenser installation is carried out by Ad Astra Rocket with the support of TMF and CRUSA. This new equipment will allow hydrogen electric cars to be recharged to their maximum capacity, giving them a range of autonomy of between 500km to 600 km. The tank refill time will be approximately 5 minutes.

    Hydrogen effectiveness

    The CRUSA Foundation, with resources from the agreement with the IDB Lab, has commissioned studies to evaluate the life cycle and cost of ownership of different types of automobiles (light, heavy, medium, and buses). The results have shown that the technologies of electric vehicles, batteries and hydrogen, do not compete with each other, but are complementary.

    “We have confirmed that the use of hydrogen technology is more competitive in the niche of medium-duty, heavy-duty and long-distance passenger transport vehicles,” explained Rivera. These results, together with other studies that are being carried out, will allow us to better understand the potential of green hydrogen produced in Costa Rica on a global level and its effects on the country’s economy.

    The Hydrogen Alliance considers that the analysis and findings obtained in this series of studies could be used as inputs for the development of a National Green Hydrogen Strategy for Costa Rica.

    “The process of preparing and consulting a strategy of this type must be an effort led by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), and is present in Costa Rica’s commitments to the Convention of the United Nations (UN) on the climate that were recently updated”, concluded Rivera.

    The technical details of the study “Assessment of the Life Cycle and Total Cost of Ownership of different types of vehicles” can be consulted in the IDB virtual library

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