EARTH University-La Flor

BENJAMIN ZACK/ EARTH University-La Flor covers 4,000 acres surrounding the home of former Costa Rican President Daniel Oduber. President Oduber’s family donated the land to EARTH after his death.

By Kevin Deane

LIBERIA, Costa Rica — EARTH University-La Flor is the newest campus in Costa Rica’s EARTH University system. Building plans were delayed more than a decade after former Costa Rican President Daniel Oduber and his family donated his old ranch and land to the system. The plans finally began to surface in 2005, and the campus opened to the public in 2009 with a specific goal in mind.

According to its website, La Flor is different than the other EARTH campuses because it is “dedicated to the generation of innovative ideas aiming to promote development through an entrepreneurial spirit, social justice, technological innovation and the creation of alternatives to protect the environment.”

There are five emphasis areas La Flor focuses on: clean energy, water, waste transformation, information technology, and biotechnology and agricultural innovation. Each involves different areas of interest. Engineer, economist and La Flor Director Carlos G. Murillo Martínez explained each in a presentation Monday.

Clean energy:

  • Wind
  • Solar
  • Small hydrates
  • Geothermal
  • Biomass
  • Hydrogen
  • Methane Hydrates
  • Storage
  • Grid Systems

MELISSA KLAUDA/ Carlos Murillo explains the division of land around EARTH University-La Flor in Liberia, Costa Rica. Murillo was part of the founding faculty for the University’s first campus in Guacimo in 1986 and is now director of the second campus in Liberia.

“Grid systems are a first priority here, and in the United States, too.” Murillo said. “We are about to put in the first smart grid system in La Flor. A smart grid is basically a wireless communication system that connects any device that produces or consumes electricity to a centralized, computerized center. It says whether your motors are running efficiently, and how much you are consuming in real time.”

Water

  • Control
  • Harvest
  • Storage
  • Emergency management
  • Distribution
  • Irrigation
  • Recycling
  • Treatment
  • Monitoring

“We don’t have problems with water in the dry tropics,” Murillo said. “We have plenty of water— tons of water. If we can clean it, hold it, store it, harvest it, distribute it— we have more than enough for all the years.”

Waste transformation

BENJAMIN ZACK/ Sheep roam the road on the La Flor campus. The campus contains a mix of agriculture, forest and industrial land with plans for a wind farm and convention center in the future.

  • Solid
  • Liquid
  • Industrial
  • Agricultural
  • Domestic
  • Municipal
  • CO2
  • High value resource independence

“The first thing we want to do is set up a methane system, to prove that you can produce energy,” Murillo said. “Not with methane from under the sea, but with methane generated from waste.”

Information technology

  • Data management
  • Storage
  • Security
  • Processing
  • Logisitcs
  • Bioinformatives
  • Local monitoring
  • Global monitoring

“The new jobs (in Costa Rica) are going to have to be based on knowledge to be able to pay well, to be able to sustain the economy, and to allow people to increase their standard of living,” Murillo said. “I think those jobs may have to do in some parts with technology.”

Biotechnology and agricultural innovation

  • New enterprises
  • Research and development
  • Post harvest
  • Added value
  • Food processing
  • Agribusiness
  • Training
  • Consulting
  • Enterprise incubator
  • Financial services
  • Sustainable enterprise

“We need to look at how we can add value to the stuff we’re producing,” Murillo said. “We can’t just be producing raw bananas. What do we do with the peel? What do we do with the seeds? What can we extract from it? Can we get some essential oils out of the seed or the peel? There’s lots of stuff we can do with the leftovers, too.”

Tagged , , , , ,

One thought on “EARTH University-La Flor

  1. Reverend Bonnie Smith says:

    This is definately the way of the future if we are to continue living in a just and peaceful world. God’s blessing on you all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: