At the end of the current government administration, Costa Rica would already be on its way to being a “technological hub” for green hydrogen, so that the country produces energy on a small and medium scale, according to Franz Tattenbach, Minister of the Environment. The idea is that all this renewable energy is used locally, so Costa Rica would have to forget in the medium term about being a large-scale exporter.
The government’s vision is that this strategy helps reduce emissions from the transportation and industry sectors in the short term, while the country would be waiting for other nations to investigate what concerns large markets.
And it is that the export of green hydrogen is not something that this government wants to promote in the short or medium term, since it is not currently considered an economic alternative, added Tattenbach. “Hydrogen today is not a profitable alternative, it is very important that we know it, which would happen until the energy is more proven and other countries enter, so why does Costa Rica have to be the one that tests? Being the country that develops the technologies, that serve us, such as use, this is not a product to be exported, this Ministry has not believed that the country can export liquid energy and we are not going to practically become a mining country”, said Tattenbach in an interview with LA REPÚBLICA.
For this reason, the bill that was approved in the first debate by the previous Legislative Assembly and that proposes that Costa Rica become a Latin American leader in the export of green hydrogen, does not have the support of the current government and has not advanced in the first 9 months of this Congress. For the minister, there would be no support from the population to fill dams and electric parks throughout the country to export renewable energy to the United States via Mexico or Central America. However, thinking of supporting the decarbonization process in Costa Rica, the government accelerates the entry into force of the National Green Hydrogen Strategy, with the intention that this alternative can be applied in transportation, industry, chemical inputs, and electricity generation.
The different renewable energy options available to the country could facilitate the production of hydrogen and supply certain local markets. “The National Green Hydrogen Strategy has already been consulted and for this reason, we are reviewing the document, it comes with a logic oriented towards having a technological hub here, more technologically oriented, on a small and medium scale for now, especially for uses of hydrogen”, added the head of Minae.
Among the strategic goals of the National Strategy for the year 2030 are creating a demand that allows the installation of 15 publicly accessible hydrogen generators for light and heavy vehicles, as well as a percentage of green hydrogen replacing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and the bunker in the industries. In addition, it expects to impact with 12,000 or 18,000 direct and indirect jobs and a reduction between 250,000 and 400,000 tons of CO2 equivalent.
For the Costa Rican scientist and astronaut, Franklin Chang, the country has the necessary conditions not only to satisfy its domestic needs for green hydrogen, but also for potential exports. In addition, he assures that the incursion of hydrogen will allow Costa Rica to decarbonize national transport, since it is the one that currently produces the greatest amount of carbon emissions.