Today we went to Ad Astra Rocket Company. We saw their Variable Specific Impulse Magneto-plasma Rocket, VASIMR™ for short. The VASIMR™ takes argon gas and ionizes it to plasma and contains it in a magnetic field to produce a propulsion beam. This kind of engine is efficient for space transport but cannot produce the thrust necessary to put something into orbit.
Ad Astra also has a renewable program were they focus on using sources such as solar and wind to produce the energy necessary to is electrolosize water to produce hydrogen gas for Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles. Our guide Juan gave us the grand tour and the nitty gritty of what they do to be on the cutting edge of infrastructure building for new technologies.
After Ad Astra we moved on to a biomass sugar cane plantation to get a deeper understanding of biofuels and their role in sustainability. This plantation is called El Viejo. Here they make three products; sugar, molasses and energy! They are a carbon neutral operation. They use the biomass leftover from the refining process and burn it to produce steam that turn turbines. They use some energy to power their operations and the rest the sell to ICE, the Costa Rican Institute of Energy.
For lunch we went to the old plantation house on the land that serves as a wildlife reserve as well as a way to draw in tourism. We received a lovely interactive crash course on Costa Rican culture while there. We processed, and enjoyed sugar cane, had a coffee break and learned a traditional song!
After that we moved to our hotel for the evening and had a brief recap of the day were we all went over what we had learned.
Pura Vida from Costa Rica!