Four years after the idea was put away, the National Production Council (CNP) and the Costa Rican Petroleum Refinery (RECOPE) revived the plan of partnering for the production and use of ethanol in fuel mixtures.
In a letter addressed to the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic last month, the Refiner consulted on the possibility of making a “strategic alliance” with the CNP, with the purpose of “creating synergies” between both entities of the State. The alliance would be carried out specifically with the National Liquor Factory (FANAL), which should build an additional plant to act as a fuel supplier.
As part of the considerations, RECOPE would be providing the CNP with sufficient economic support so that it could produce the required raw material that the Refinery would use for the fuel mixture, which would guarantee RECOPE to have control over the quality of the production,”
cites the document sent to the Comptroller’s Office.
The idea of using alcohol as a fuel dates back to the end of the 70s and since then the plans to mix alcohol with hydrocarbons have been recurrent. The last plan dates from 2014, when the then president of the CNP, William Barrantes, presented the project “National Program for the Provision of Alcohol Fuel” to the then president of RECOPE, Littleton Bolton.
According to the expectations generated by the project at that time, the oil bill would be reduced, sugarcane production would increase and, in addition, it would allow economic and social development in marginal areas, where the land is not suitable for the production of sugarcane for sugar, but for alcohol, with the advantage that the foliage of the cane would be used for electricity.
At the end of that year, the Comptroller General said RECOPE did not have enough infrastructure for the process of mixing biofuels with fossil fuels in the different campuses of the country.
The cost of a new plant for FANAL would exceed $10 million and would be made in the Caribbean area of the country.