Latin America

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EXI activities in Latin America: around EUR 4 million of funding for 20 projects in six years

Funding measures from the German Federal Environment Ministry’s ‘Export Initiative Environmental Protection’ (EXI) in Latin America form an important geographic and topical point of focus for the programme. During the funding period 2021–2022 alone, funding was provided to twelve projects, which focused on topics including the circular economy as well as water and waste water management.

20 projects in Latin America since the formation of EXI

To date, a total of 20 projects have been funded in Latin America with a total volume of around EUR 4 million. Of these, 18 projects were implemented in South America, and 2 projects in Central America and the Caribbean (1 project was implemented in Chile and Mexico).

The Export Initiative cooperates with international partners to implement its projects. In Latin America, 14 of the 20 projects were implemented with the German Chambers of Commerce Abroad and delegations of German business (AHKs) represented there.

Projects funded in 2021 and 2022

EXI’s engagement in Latin America during 2021/22 extends across seven countries (as at 09/2022).

During 2021 and 2022, twelve projects received a grant from the funding programme. The total budget for these projects alone runs to around EUR 3.3 million.

Focus countries and focus topics include:

Focus countries

  • Chile, four projects
  • Brazil, three projects
  • Bolivia, Cuba, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, one project each

Focus topics

  • Circular economy, four projects
  • Water and waste water management, three projects
  • Water/waste water management and the circular economy, two projects
  • Cross-sectional technologies, two projects
  • Green hydrogen, one project

Selected focus topics and projects

A third of ongoing projects from the Export Initiative in Latin America are dedicated to the circular economy (four projects, 20 percent of funding volume), with a quarter focusing on the topic of water and waste water management (three projects, 35 percent of funding volume). A further two projects are handling both topics simultaneously (37 percent of funding volume).

Circular economy as topic area most commonly addressed

Of the projects funded in Latin America during 2021 and 2022, six are focused on the topic area of the circular economy, which equates to a funding volume of roughly EUR 1.9 million. As a result, knowledge transfer, and models and technologies for waste avoidance and recycling are strongly represented. Measured by funding volume, the focal point of the Export Initiative in Latin America is the topic area of water and waste water management, with five projects (EUR 2.3 million). 

WASTE2BR: Waste to energy in Brazil

In emerging countries such as Brazil, around 90 percent of waste is sent to landfill, with the waste and resource sectors being primarily linear. The use of mechanical recycling or waste incineration is minimal, with virtually no secondary materials being recovered. A feasibility study will be used here to identify preliminary conditions and demonstrate the suitability of the thermal treatment method according to the German standard for hospital, industrial and treated domestic waste in the Brazilian community of Bento Gonçalves for the decentralised use of electricity and steam. This study will investigate the technical, ecological, economic, administrative and legal aspects for a waste-to-energy solution. The model developed for Bento Gonçalves is to be used as a pilot and flagship project for other states in Brazil, and also to be transferred to other countries in South America.

AHK Cuba: German-Cuban Alliance for sustainable environmental development

Completed in June 2022, the aim of the project from the AKH Cuba was to facilitate sustainable and long-term cooperation between Cuban and German stakeholders in the circular economy and water/waste water sectors. For this purpose, an online blog was first used to present the most important actors, developments and challenges, while simultaneously establishing the foundations for a three-way cooperation between German and Cuban universities and businesses. In the course of a start-up competition in the ‘InCuba’ incubator (University of Havana), young entrepreneurs developed specific solution approaches for current environmental problems in Cuba. Using the format of a German-Cuban environmental technology and sustainability forum, the project results and ideas were presented for future German-Cuban collaboration.

AHK Chile H2: deploying green hydrogen for off-grid power generation within island and smaller-scale power grids

This project, which was completed in October 2021, aimed to highlight the potential for deploying green hydrogen for off-grid applications within island and mid-sized power grids. The objective here was to promote the decarbonisation of decentralised grids in Chile, many of which are based on diesel generators.

For this purpose, a study was prepared to demonstrate the specific areas of application for green hydrogen, while quantifying the potential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, analysing business opportunities and current general conditions, as well as describing the defining the key actors for the sector both in Chile and Germany.

LearnGreen: e-learning model – development and application of financial instruments for the use of green technologies

In Bolivia, the implementation of investments in environmental technologies is often hindered by a lack of access to sufficient financing. Accordingly, the LearnGreen project therefore aimed to develop an e-learning course on green finance for the local finance sector.

With the help of this Spanish-language e-learning course (Certificado de Experto en Finanzas Verdes), the aim is to promote the financing of sustainable investment made by Bolivian companies in green technologies, both on the supply side as well as the demand side. With their joint course programme, the AHK Bolivia and the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management have enabled decisive local knowledge gains in relation to the development and marketing of financial products (supply side) as well as a deeper understanding of the technology and knowledge about green project funding with local companies (demand side). This know-how transfer has improved the general conditions for investment in green technologies and therefore expanded export opportunities for German suppliers.

NEWA-LIMA: new water resources and innovative wastewater treatment for arid metropolitan regions – using Lima as an example

The aim of this project is to introduce the proven technique of artificial groundwater enrichment (AGE) in Germany as a nature-based solution in Peru, and to demonstrate its potential for the cost-effective supply of high-quality process and drinking water in heavily populated but arid regions. As is the case in many developing and emerging countries, waste water in Peru is generally left untreated, and is even used for irrigation and food production in arid coastal regions. This practice results in high levels of pollution and human health hazards. This project envisages introducing optimised plant systems adapted to local conditions in Peru, which will therefore serve as a reference project for Peru as a whole (and neighbouring countries) for innovative sewage engineering and process/drinking water treatment adapted to local circumstances.

Other topics focused on by projects in Latin America include green hydrogen and cross-sectional technologies, for example.