A project that began six years ago, on a farm in Costa Rica is now set to become the international model for clean biofuel production that will lower Costa Rica’s carbon footprint and allow the country to spend less for toxic fossil fuels that cause 80% more pollution.
The worldwide demand for biofuels has increased due to changing crude oil prices and the desire of most nations to reduce oil dependency and greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the local company, Clean Fuels & Energy of the Americas, which is a partner and vice president of the Chamber and Industries of Costa Rica, CIRC, it is now possible to obtain financing from European Investment Funds that are attracted to sustainable energy projects like biodiesel production.
A cooperative called Coopeciagro RL that was formed in 2012 by agronomy and forestry professionals has been promoting a new project for the cultivation of Coyol, (Acrocomia lasiospatha), which is a species of palm that produces clusters of nut-like seeds with high oil content.
The plan is to extract the oil inside the Coyol seeds and convert it into biodiesel. Coopeciagro’s initial plan is to acquire 60,000 hectares for Coyol plantations in Costa Rica’s northern zone and another 60,000 hectares in Guanacaste.
The long-term plan is to construct five oil extraction plants in both plantations, in order to process 120,000 hectares of palms.
As an example; only one of Costa Rica’s electrical generation plants would consume between 17,000 and 20,000 hectares of the plantations production each year.
Once the plantations reach full production, the biodiesel will replace more than 120 million gallons of fossil fuel each year, resulting in a decrease of 1500 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
The entire project will require an estimated $500 million dollars of financing, which would be obtained from the European Investment Funds.
Additionally, this project offers huge social benefits in the form of new opportunities for Costa Rican’s living in rural areas. The proposal for the Costa Rican plantations is to divide them into 100-hectare concessions that will be managed by local agronomists and forestry engineers.
Projects like these will allow many farmers to grow and harvest trees that are native in the country, and this will provide employment and educational opportunities in many rural communities.
The writer, Tom Rosenberger has lived and worked in Costa Rica since 1993 and from his travels throughout the country inspecting property and construction he has acquired a wealth of knowledge about living and doing business in Costa Rica.
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