The world is on the brink of a green revolution, and Costa Rica is leading the charge with its innovative use of green hydrogen. Spearheading this initiative is Franklin Chang, a retired NASA astronaut with seven space missions under his belt.
Who is Franklin Chang?
Franklin Chang is a Costa Rican scientist who has been researching and developing green hydrogen technology since 2011. He believes that within a decade, Costa Rica will be transformed into a much richer and cleaner country, thanks to green hydrogen.
What is Green Hydrogen?
Green hydrogen is pure hydrogen produced using renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power. It’s considered a clean energy alternative, although it’s currently quite expensive. However, the interest in green hydrogen is growing, especially in the transportation industry.
Green Hydrogen in Costa Rica
Chang’s company, Ad Astra Rocket, has installed a system that produces green hydrogen on a reduced scale. The production of green hydrogen is based on the decomposition of water with electricity produced with clean and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass). The company has received financial support from NASA and private companies, including Toyota, which provided the first four light cars powered by green hydrogen in Latin America.
Green Hydrogen in Transportation
One of the main applications of green hydrogen would be transportation, a sector that accounts for 65% of Costa Rica’s energy consumption. Green hydrogen could make the country independent of its oil bill and could be used in the short term in buses, trucks, ships, and airplanes. It could also benefit the production of fertilizers, steel, glass, and cement, among other industries.
The Environmental Impact of Green Hydrogen
While green hydrogen is certainly cleaner than gas, it’s highly flammable, and it has a lower density of fuel than other energy sources. However, it’s a heat system that’s powered by hydrogen molecules, which aren’t naturally found on planet earth. They are created through a process called electrolysis, resulting in a pollutant-free energy source.
The work of Franklin Chang and his team at Ad Astra Rocket is a testament to the potential of green hydrogen. While there are still challenges to overcome, particularly in terms of cost, the environmental benefits of green hydrogen make it a promising solution for a sustainable future.