ESCOIA together with Costa Rica Limpia, Centre for Urban Sustainability (CPSU) and Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G) conducted a project on distributed energy innovation. The project focused on providing inputs for a proactive discussion on distributed systems innovation. Locally, a characterization of local context from a technical, legal as well as citizen perspective was conducted. Internationally, potential pathways for distributed energy were identified based on successful experiences from the UK and other pioneering European countries. Later, these innovation opportunities were validated locally and “tropicalized” to the Costa Rican context. The project concluded with the formulation of four distributed energy technical working groups and various workshops with decision-makers and citizens.
ESCOIA was appointed as project leader and project manager of the consortia. Furthermore, ESCOIA provided its technical expertise in the energy field both locally, in Costa Rica, and internationally which included: modeling on the deployment of electric vehicles in Costa Rica, evaluation of various technologies and technical support for the conduction of the first national citizen consultation on clean energy in Costa Rica.
With 50,000 hectares under cultivation, Costa Rica is the world's leading exporter of pineapples. The industry represents more than 3% of GDP, generating around 1 billion dollars of export revenues and directly employing more than 25,000. Current residue management practices involve application of herbicides and pesticides, 2-3 months of sun-drying before on-field combustion, which result in productivity loss and pollution that pose serious risks to health and the environment. As a result, the industry is under increasing pressure from local communities, national authorities and international markets to implement more sustainable practices. On the flip-side, pineapple plant residues make up a formidable biomass resource(7.5 million tons/year in Costa Rica and 150 million tons/year worldwide).
In close cooperation with plantation owners, ESCOIA plans to use this biomass resource to produce electricity and, with time, valuable co-products such as materials and chemicals. A concept study has been successfully carried out, and value-chain and technology partners have been engaged.
The project was hired by the Costa Rican Forestry Financing Fund (FONAFIFO) to conduct an in-depth analysis of the secondary transformation wood industry in Costa Rica in order to foster its competitiveness. The project consisted on (1) the identification and evaluation of leading wood industrial players in Costa Rica, (2) assess their value chain formation potential and (3) provide inputs for the elaboration of a National Action Plan to raise competitiveness among the wood industry in Costa Rica.
ESCOIA was in charge of providing technical assistance across all of the three main phases of the project. The company also served as a communication line between the Costa Rican private sector and the relevant governmental authorities, which also meant advising an ad hoc committee in the elaboration of a National Action Plan. ESCOIA also led various workshops with representatives from the private sector.
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