A little less conversation, a little more action please

Geothermal Chicas at Pavana Geothermal Field

Dear friends of the IGA, dear friends of Geothermal, Queridos amigos,

Thank you again for the very good feedback on social media and all your messages. Here we go with a short summary of the second part of our trip:

Unfortunately, we could not visit all countries in the region due to ongoing travel restrictions. But the more we are happy, that we still had the opportunity to visit some of our crucial partners and amazing projects in El Salvador and Honduras.

We started the week with a very good informative meeting with Anna Wittenborg, SICA Cluster Coordinator of the GIZ, who brings a lot of international experience to the region. Welcome and thank you, Anna! We like your idea of the establishment of a regional Geothermal federation, and the IGA could provide the perfect platform indeed.

Welcome Anna Wittenborg (l)

Making progress requires strong partnerships. Jan Janzen and his team of the Cámara Alemana-Salvadoreña (AHK El Salvador) are building the required bridges between El Salvador and Germany. The entire region is full of opportunities: e.g. Eddy Sanchez, Director Departamento de Recursos Geotérmicos and Dr. Christian Schauer, Executive Director of the German – Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce and Industry are working together with German geothermal consortia to push forward the distributed generation and important geothermal direct use projects (e.g. Shrimp production) are under development. Thank you for the very good meetings, which brought many new insights about opportunities for the industry sector to utilize Geothermal!

Vibrant discussion with Jan Janzen (r)

On our first fieldtrip of the week we went to Ahuachapán, again in conjunction with the team of the Consejo Nacional de Energía (CNE). I would like to thank Salvador Handal and his Team for the great company and giving me priceless insights about the region. Thank you, Salvador, Aida, Adrian, Josue and Victor!

Field trip with the CNE family

In Ahuachapán we visited the second Geothermal Power Plant operated by LaGeo. We also received deeper insights to the work of FundaGeo, who are using the Geothermal source to produce Coffee, Honey and Candles and create jobs for the local community. Executive Director Stephanie Daboub (FundaGeo), Yohalmo Alvarenga (LaGeo) and their team are doing an amazing job to improve the region socio-economic approach. This is Geothermal for the people!

Note: LaGeo will present its activities also at the “Geothermal Direct Use: Global Forum & Tour” from September 27-29, 2021. More Info and registration: https://newenergyevents.com/world-bank-geothermal-direct-use/

Introduction to the work of FundaGeo

Talking about people, it is a great coincidence, that I had the great chance to be in El Salvador, while Bitcoin has been launched as an official payment method and I talked with many locals in different age groups. The biggest blocker to embrace this new opportunity is simply a lack of information. Hence, the IGA will host a webinar to give a general introduction on this emerging topic and to showcase, how Geothermal can push the digital development – and other way around.

On our trip we dropped by at the wonderful Lago Coatepeque, an area with a high geothermal manifestation. The area is very close to the Volcano Santa Ana, which erupted last time in the year 2005. It would be easy to generate electricity here and it is a paradise for GDU applications.

Lago Coatepeque

On our next field trip, we visited in conjunction with Osly Rodas, Karla Cerrato (GIZ), Christian Irias and Diana Solís, Director Secretaria de Energia Honduras (SEN) a Geothermal source in Agua Caliente, Pavana, Choluteca (Honduras). Diana showed up as a passionate geothermal fan and she is not only a great professional, but also a new friend and an ally to promote the GDU in Honduras.

We met very smart students of the UNITEC and Lizzy-Pamela, a 9-year-old, who could directly benefit from a utilization of the Geothermal source in their backyard. Together with Christian Izaguierre, a local community manager, we explored the best Geothermal manifestations, and we saw huge opportunities to use the heat for industrial GDU applications like food production, drying or, pasteurization.

Lizzy Pamela (l) and Diana Solis (r) admiring the huge Geothermal potential

Yes, it’s hot in here!

Students of Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana (UNITEC)

In Pavana we also met Don Gustavo Corrales and his team, who have 35 years of experience in cheese production. They are still burning wood in the production process and the high Geothermal potential in their backyard and the region can help them to improve their product and create new value chains in their community. I had the opportunity of a personal tasting and when I had the best coffee ever last week, this is the best cheese (quesillo) I’ve ever had! Quesillo is an important ingredient for a Pupusas, a national meal in El Salvador. I can’t wait to come back for more such culinary experiences.

Please also check out the following video:

Don Pedro. It is not just stirring cheese, it is art!

Don Gustavo. One cut, perfect portion!

Pupusas! Hmmmm…

Summary: The Geothermal potential in the region is very high without a doubt and with water temperatures of 90° on the surface I could literally feel the heat. But we need more specific applications, from PowerPoint to real projects: A little less conversation, a little more action please! The cheese production in Pavana, Honduras is one candidate we will push forward, since the utilization of the Geothermal potential can create new jobs, raise environmental awareness, reduce greenhouse emission, and facilitate the development of the entire region. Geothermal can help the people to make their lives better.

It will take a bit time to process and sort all the great impressions, videos and interviews of our trips. Hence, stay tuned for our full summary.

Best wishes,
Gregorio Arturo de la Montana de Ron

Gregor Rumberg, IGA Chief Operating Officer
E-Mail: gregor@lovegeothermal.org
Social media author handle: /gr

Blog:                   https://www.lovegeothermal.org/blog/
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*This study tour is undertaken within the Memorandum of Understanding between the IGA and the project “Geothermal Heat Utilization for Industrial Processes in the SICA member countries (GEO II)” – implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding is to support geothermal direct use activities in the 8 SICA-countries and undertake joint activities in the areas Training and Capacity Building, Implementation of Demonstrative Projects and Awareness Rising, Networking, Information and Communication on direct uses of geothermal energy.