- Scientists say the first results are satisfactory
- Pineapple producers support the idea but they fear that it is too expensive
For some Costa Rican environmentalists, pineapple plantation is simply terrible as they claim it destroys the soil, generates fly plagues and puts the surrounding communities at risk due to the agrochemicals that contaminate groundwater. This fact makes drinking water dangerous for the residents.
But a group of environmentalists managed to turn things around proving that gasifying pineapple residues can produce electric energy.
The Faculty of Engineering of the University of Costa Rica, the Research Institute of Engineering and the Central American Network of Engineering Institutes teamed up to work on a project called: “Farm waste – based gasification to produce energy”.
Following years of experiments, Costa Rican scientists succeeded in the creation of a gasifier with the aid of an English organization and the community of producers who contributed the pineapple crops wastes to the project. The first results have been gratifying, thus, the researchers are willing to proceed with more experiments.
The spokesmen of the crack team led by Carlos Casanova Treto, have reported that the scientists will be testing the efficiency of the gasifier with the caloric power of different mixtures.
These plans were made possible thanks to the contribution of the Network for the scientific innovation of the British Embassy in Costa Rica.
By re-utilizing pineapple residues, it will be possible to diminish the environmental impact caused by the crops of this citrus fruit. In return for that, Costa Rica will be able to obtain bio-energy from pineapples.
Liliana Arrieta, REDICA Technical Secretary, views this Project as another way to make money and boost business in the country, provided that it abides by the law.
“We had to select this type of waste because the community has taken a stance to the rising contamination that pineapples crops produce. These crops make the number of flies in the zone increase and on top of that, they have found out water has also been polluted by this type of activity” – Liliana Arrieta said.
“Besides being more eco-friendly, we are thinking of getting some sub-products from pineapple crops wastes such as beauty products, industrial fruit juice, and pineapple pudding, and this is, of course, a great opportunity to do business” – She added.
Costa Rica is ranked first as the major pineapple exporter in Latin America, with no fewer than 50 thousand hectares of plantation. Plus, according to the National Chamber of Pineapple Producers and Exporters, pineapple plantation generates 35 thousand direct employments and 46 thousand indirect ones.
But unfortunately, pineapple crops have brought about the disaster in some habitats. For example, it has been registered that 5,500 hectares of rainforest have been undermined by this type of plantation.
The two most expensive aspects of the project are the creation of the gasifier and the distribution of the new plantation system and the gasifier as such nationwide.
The project responds to the United Nation Organization’s approach and is line with the Law 7447 regarding the Regulation of Energy which aims to raise awareness of the correct use of the energy resources and utilities.
Pros and Cons
- The project opens ways to new plantation methods.
- The initiative has an eco-friendly approach.
- It promotes the development of agro- technology.
- It will prevent communities from picking up illnesses and diseases caused by pollution.
- The project brings many agro – producers together.
- It’s expensive.
- Logistics may be a hindrance.