Team Biogas in Mendoza: A More Hands-On Approach

In our last blog, I highlighted some of the key events and experiences our group as a whole went through upon our arrival to the Paris of South America. How time has flown since then! After four days in the capital city, we would head west to the desert region of Mendoza. Home to the majority of the Argentine wine industry’s key players, there were plenty of renewable energy learning opportunities to be had in this beautiful area as well. In this piece I will discuss Team Biogas project-related experiences during our excursions there, while also highlighting some of the fun had along the way.

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A Cuyo representative with the biodigestor experimental model.

After our initial client meeting in Buenos Aires, we had clarified all remaining doubts regarding both the details of our project deliverables and what the other partner (whom we had yet to meet prior to the face-to-face) was looking to get out of the experience. However, we had still yet to see Biogas in action! Lucky for our group, we had the opportunity to do just that at Cuyo National University. The CAP program included this afternoon site visit just for our team, where we would proceed to get up close and personal with the core technology that converts the various forms of waste to energy. In Cuyo’s case, they were using a mix of leftover wine, tomatoes, and olives mixed with animal wastes as the inputs.   This experimental group was receiving both tutelage and funding from a sister school in Germany, which showed through their expertise in the European low and hi-tech biodigestor models. They were even gracious enough to give us some insights about the future of the industry, specifically what would happen should energy subsidies change in Argentina as a result of next year’s election.

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Team Biogas and Team Cuyo

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Mendoza wasn’t just about business. We had a great time learning about the regional culture and what the locals did for fun. A winery tour was a must, and La Bodega Nieto Senetiner did not disappoint. Our tour guide, Martin, who happened to be a wine and gastronomy expert, gave us an incredible tour including multiple tastings at the end. Most memorable was a nice speech during our first sampling about the difference between flavors and tastes, which he insisted were of vital importance when deciding on wine preferences.   The people in Mendoza were also quite partial to Fernet, and herb-based liqueur popular to mix with Coca-Cola. Taking cues from the artistic nature of the city, the resto-bar atmospheres also did not disappoint.

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Martin being a gracious host

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Fernet in all it’s glory

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A restobar in downtown Mendoza

As we head back to Buenos Aires to wrap things up, I anticipate that the significant experiences had in Mendoza will serve us well in the delivery of a quality final product. Nos vemos (until next time)!

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