The DOS ECPA Project

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Improving Access to Clean Energy in Rural Central America Using On-site Solar-Biopower Generation

A colaborative effort between Michigan State University and the Universidad de Costa Rica, the current Department Of State ECPA Project focuses on realizing the potential and evaluating the feasibility of operation of biomass energy in rural Central America. In addition to implimenting a solar biopower system, the program will evaluate the technical and economic performance of the systems in place, and establish an outreach program in Central America.

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Dr. Srivastava, the PI of this project, is a professor and the chair of the MSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering. Dr. Srivastava was the main architect of the highly successful degree programs in Biosystems Engineering (BE). The ABET accredited BE degree program integrates principles of engineering with biology to address broad societal issues such as food, agriculture, natural resources, energy, and the environment in a systems context. Dr. Srivastava was instrumental in creating the MSU Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center (ADREC). His current research includes feedstock supply chain logistics. He leads a MSU study abroad course on bioenergy in Sweden. He is currently collaborating with the School of Agricultural Engineering at University of Costa Rica.

Dr. Wei Liao, a co-PI and assistant professor in the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department of Michigan State University (MSU), is leading an active research program on utilization of agricultural/municipal/industrial residues for renewable energy/chemical production. Dr. Liao has four years of industrial experience and has been conducting research on integrated anaerobic digestion system for the past 11 years. His expertise in solar thermal conversion, process optimization, and system integration will ensure the fulfillment of Task II.

Dr. Dawn Reinhold, a co-PI, is an assistant professor in the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department of Michigan State University (MSU). Her research focuses on developing ecosystems to improve water quality, while recognizing that truly sustainable wastewater systems require a financial return-on-investment. Dr. Reinhold’s expertise will ensure the fulfillment of the post-treatment of AD effluent (Task II. 2).

Dr. Dana Kirk, the manager of Anaerobic Digestion Research and Education Center at MSU. Dr. Kirk has expertise in blending feedstocks for anaerobic digestion and integration of anaerobic digestion in to commercial applications. Dr. Kirk is also intensively involved with waste-to-energy related extension and outreach activities. He will participate in evaluating the technical and economic performance, and establishing outreach program for this project.

Eng. Jose Fco Aguilar, a co-PI, is the director of the Department of Agricultural Engineering in University of Costa Rica UCR. Eng. Aguilar is also Vice president of National Association of Agricultural Engineering in Costa Ric a (ACIA). His experience is in soil and water conservation engineering and modeling using geo-technology tools. As a co-PI of this project, Eng. Aguilarwill be responsible for Tasks of II. 2 and 3.

Dr. Werner Rodríguez-Montero, a co-PI, is the head of the Fabio Baudrit Experimental Station at University of Costa Rica, where a bio-energy project has been active during three years responding to a broad search of alternatives to fit increasing national energy and clean technologies demands. He has been working with banana, oil palm and yams as crop physiologist during 15 years and, more recently, with papaya. As a co-PI, Dr. Rodriguez will beresponsible for Tasks of II. 2 and 3.

Eng. Jose Alberto Miranda Chavarria, a co-PI, is a faculty member of Department of Agricultural Engineering in University of Costa Rica UCR. Eng. Miranda has 25 year experie nce as a consultant engineer on agricultural products processing, mainly focusing on energy efficiency and re newable energy utilization. He developed and managed energy-related projects for both public and private sectors. Eng. Miranda will be the project manager in Costa Rica.

Eng. Daniel Baudrit Ruiz, a co-PI, is a faculty member of the Department of Agricultural Engineering in University of Costa Rica UCR.Eng. Ruiz has 31 year experience as a consultingengineer in Hydraulic, Environmental and Power engineering. Also, has 21 year experience as a professor at UCR. He was manager of a 5 year grant program (2000-05) from the Netherlands in Costa Rica, to design and build anaerobic digestion systems for the coffee industry and dairy farms in Costa Rica and El Salvador. Eng. Ruiz will be responsible for Task of II. 2.

MSc. Álvaro José Caballero Hernández, MSc. Caballero concluded his master in ecologicalagriculture at the Training and Research Tropical Center (CATIE) recently. He has been active as faculty associated of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua–León since 2004. His research has been focused to biological control and endophytic and symbiotic fungus in bananas.

MSc. Néstor Saavedra Rodríguez, MSc. Saavedra has been working with the Empresa Nicaraguense Alemana SA (ENICALSA) on renewable energy sources last nine years, mainly on solar energy for rural areas. He teaches alternative energy sources at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua–León. He is a recognized consultant on solar energy applications.

MSc. Viviana Morales Villamonte, a faculty member of the Department of Organic Chemistry at Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí, Panama, has more than 14 years of experience on analytical chemistry. MSc. Morales is an active researcher of the Natural Products and Biotechnology Center (CIPNABIOT).