Ad Astra Rocket Company, Costa Rica, has initiated two major projects valued at approximately $765,000 to strengthen Central America’s first green hydrogen ecosystem.

Partners of the project are Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF), a foundation to support the development of a more mobile society and IDBLab, a laboratory of the Interamerican Development Bank Group that supports early stage ventures that can improve the lives of vulnerable populations due to economic, social or environmental factors.

The first hydrogen ecosystem project, supported by the TMF, involves upgrading Ad Astra’s hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in Liberia. Presently, the facility only supports 350 bar refuelling, as required by urban buses and other heavy-duty transport.

“Hydrogen vehicles are electric, but instead of storing energy in a battery, they make electricity on board, in a fuel cell, by combining hydrogen stored in a tank with oxygen from the air. The only bioproduct is pure water and the carbon footprint is zero,” said Juan Ignacio Del Valle, Ad Astra Operations Director in Costa Rica.

The project will develop additional hydrogen storage capacity at approximately 900 bar, high pressure plumbing, control software, instrumentation, hydrogen pre-cooling, and a new 700 bar dispenser that will be complement the existing 350 bar unit already operational at Ad Astra.

The second project, sponsored by IDBLab, addresses Costa Rica’s hydrogen ecosystem to refuel both buses and passenger cars. The project involves a number of deliverables associated with the safe and reliable operation of the upgraded facility including, operational protocols, control and monitoring software and complete systems operations manuals and associated documentation.

In February (2019) Costa Rica launched a plan to fully de-carbonise the nation by 2050. One of the key technologies to accomplish this goal is energy storage through green hydrogen for mobility and stationary power. The Ad Astra-led green hydrogen ecosystem, a public-private partnership, is a major step in Costa Rica’s journey.

“We are thrilled to move forward on these projects, as we bring the most advanced fuel cell electric vehicle technology to Costa Rica,” said Franklin Chang Díaz, Chairman and CEO of Ad Astra Rocket Company.

“Cost Rica’s de-carbonised commitment gives us hope that, through teamwork, focus and a shared vision we could achieve a national objective in a short time,” Díaz concluded.