The Hydrogen School, introduced by Estrategia Siglo XXI and Ad Astra Rocket Company Costa Rica, in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is designed to educate and train young individuals from the Guanacaste region in the field of hydrogen technologies.
By Danielle Finnegan | October 27, 2023 | Guanacaste

The Hydrogen School is a bold response to a pressing challenge: the need for a skilled technical workforce to drive the decarbonization of energy systems. Moreover, it seeks to uplift the lives of marginalized youth residing in Guanacaste, where educational opportunities have often been scarce.

Under the visionary leadership of Dr. Franklin Chang Díaz, President of Estrategia Siglo XXI and CEO of Ad Astra, the program aims to empower Costa Rican youth by providing them with the skills required by the burgeoning global green hydrogen industry. The move aligns perfectly with Costa Rica’s continued commitment to environmental sustainability and pioneering role in embracing green hydrogen since 2011, particularly in transportation.

The Hydrogen School is set to unfold over three transformative years, with each phase offering five-month scholarships for immersive, hands-on training. Guided by Ad Astra’s technical team, these select groups of young individuals will have the privilege of learning amidst cutting-edge hydrogen ecosystems at Ad Astra’s state-of-the-art facilities in Liberia.

In a collaborative synergy, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation extends crucial financial support, while Estrategia Siglo XXI takes on the mantle of program administration, organization, beneficiary selection, and rigorous oversight. Ad Astra, on the other hand, assumes the pivotal role of imparting intensive technical training and mentorship to program participants. A unique feature of the program is the temporary integration of these young individuals into Ad Astra’s technical team, providing them with an unparalleled opportunity to contribute directly to Latin America’s sole “green” hydrogen-powered transportation ecosystem.

Carlos Mora de la Orden, Vice President of Estrategia Siglo XXI, underscored the program’s significance by highlighting its opportunity to “contribute to the development of young individuals through technical training in cutting-edge clean energy technology.” He praised the collaboration with renowned partners such as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Ad Astra as a testament to Estrategia Siglo XXI’s unswerving commitment to promoting science and technology as catalysts for Costa Rica’s development.

Hydrogen, hailed as a carbon-free fuel, takes center stage in this endeavor. When produced through water electrolysis using renewable electricity, it transforms into green hydrogen—a clean and sustainable energy source. Green hydrogen has numerous applications, particularly in transportation, where it powers vehicles by producing electricity through the combination of hydrogen and oxygen, leaving behind only pure water vapor as a byproduct. In stationary applications, it supplies electricity and pure water to communities, industries, hospitals, and more.

The Hydrogen School program exemplifies an unwavering dedication to sustainability, education, and the advancement of the green energy revolution. It is a compelling testament to the transformative potential of collaborative efforts in shaping a greener and more sustainable future.

Initial seed funding allowed only two interns to be selected from 164 candidates. Their training began on September 4, 2023. The team would like to increase the number of students and extend opportunities to more students in the region. Proposals for expanding and leveraging the Hydrogen School are ongoing. If you would like to support the Hydrogen School or to schedule a visit, please contact Christian Wedell at cwedell@copan.com.