Making direct use of geothermal energy in Central America

Programme description

Title: Geothermal heat processes in industry
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Dominican Republic​​​​​​​Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, PanamaCosta Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama
Lead executing agency: Central American Integration System (SG-SICA)​​​​​​​
Overall term: 2020 to 2023

Thermal springs in Honduras. Copyright: José Franklin Espinoza, Proyecto GEO II/GIZ.

Context

Central America is rich in geothermal resources that can be used as climate-friendly energy sources in any weather. For instance, there are 75 volcanoes and more than 1,340 thermal springs. Most Member States of the Central American Integration System (SICA) are situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which offers ideal conditions for geothermal energy production. There are many ways in which geothermal energy can be harnessed directly for industrial applications such as drying fruits and seeds or cooling storage facilities and buildings.

Objective

The main conditions for direct use of geothermal energy at an industrial level have improved in the Member States of the Central American Integration System.

Scientists working in a thermal spring. Copyright: Pedro Casanova, Universidad de Costa Rica

Approach

The project focuses on the direct use of geothermal energy as well as the long-term development and strengthening of local projects. As part of the German Climate Technology Initiative, it concentrates on four main areas:

  • The project supports the adaptation of legal frameworks for the direct use of geothermal energy.
  • It promotes the development of projects designed to demonstrate to companies the advantages of investing in systems that enable direct use of geothermal energy.
  • It develops management methods for geothermal projects to support project developers, investors and service providers.
  • It strengthens cooperation in the field of geothermal energy in SICA Member States through the involvement of existing expert networks at the national, regional and international levels.

For the purposes of implementation, the project works with the energy coordination unit of the SICA General Secretariat and the SICA Council of Energy Ministers, as well as regional organisations and industry associations.

Last updated: December 2021

Eine Gruppe arbeitet im geothermischen Feld von LagGeo in El Salvador.Copyright: Neimy Girón, Proyecto GEO II/GIZ