Cablegate: Alternative Energies Fair: Can We Grow Fuel?
RR RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHSJ #1965/01 3121227
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 081227Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9176
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SAN JOSE 001965
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ENRG PGOV CS
SUBJECT: Alternative Energies Fair: Can We Grow Fuel?
Ref: A) San Jose 001323
B) San Jose 001374
1. SUMMARY: Embassy participated in an alternative
energies conference sponsored by RECOPE, Costa Rica's
national oil refinery, held at the University of Costa Rica
on 24-25 October, 2007. RECOPE organized this event as
part of its "Quality Month" by inviting private companies,
students, government, NGO's and general visitors to
participate. The embassies of Germany, France,
Netherlands, Brazil, and Panama participated with the
presence of some private companies as well. Speakers
included former Costa Rican astronaut Dr. Franklin Chang
and Dr. Luis Horta of Brazil's Itajuba University. The
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) furnished a
booth and detailed brochures and post developed additional
collateral information such as materials for students.
Post estimates that 300 people participated including an
estimate of 250 visitors to the Embassy booth. END
2. Post requested NREL's help for information and
brochures. NREL sent from the US a portable display and
informational material to give out to the visitors and
students. A looping DVD describing Cellulosic Ethanol was
played on a laptop.
Embassy staff from the Environmental Hub, Econ, FCS and PAO
contributed in managing the event for the Embassy, exhibit
logistics, and attending to visitor's questions and
comments. Attendance was estimated at 300 visitors (of
which 10 percent were students from high schools featuring
3. Visitors and students were very interested in USG
achievements in biofuels and new technologies. Questions
of food security, environmental issues, algae fuel
technology, and contact information for obtaining more
information were typical inquiries asked of the Embassy
staff. Engineering and biology college students from the
University of Costa Rica were very interested in biofuels
production, as they were working on their thesis projects
and needed relevant information.
4. The Embassy's booth attracted attention due to the NREL
biofuels poster, the biofuels production DVD, and the
variety of materials and brochures available for visitors.
Dr. Franklin Chang, former NASA astronaut, came to the
booth and greeted Embassy staff.
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER EMBASSIES AND BOOTHS?
5. A neighboring exhibitor, Germany, had information about
biodiesel production using canola oil along with other
renewable energy information. Brazil focused on sugar cane
ethanol and attracted much attention. France, the
Netherlands, and Panama offered general information on
their respective programs.
6. Private companies presented a variety of energy
solutions including solar, hydraulic and wind powered
generators. These technologies were marketed as
alternative energy solutions to mitigate or produce
electricity in rural places and farms. Costa Rica's ICE
(National Electricity and Telecomunication Institute) and
CNFL (National Electricity Company) gave information on
their hydraulic, wind and solar projects.
7. Former NASA astronaut Franklin Chang presented his
vision on the promise of fusion generated nuclear power and
VASIMIR plasma technology. Dr. Luis Horta of Brazil spoke
about the potential of energy from biomass and the
fundamentals of ethanol production; students seemed to
enjoy this the most.
SAN JOSE 00001965 002 OF 002
8. Costa Rica wants to actively participate in an
international discussion of alternative energy issues. As
an example of domestic commitment to alternative energy,
RECOPE is planning to add a 7 percent ethanol blend for its
vehicle fleet next year (reftels). This RECOPE sponsored
event, their invitation to the different embassies, and a
Round Table on Renewable Energy organized by the Ministry
of Economy and Trade to take place on November 8, confirm
that Costa Rica is committed to becoming the first carbon
neutral country or at least to making incremental steps in
that direction. From an Embassy outreach perspective, the
conference gave us a rare (and needed) chance to connect
with students on the often anti-US UCR campus. From an
operational perspective, the event highlighted the
importance of continued intra-Mission cooperation on cross-
cutting scientific, economic and public diplomacy issues.