The invention that enables hundreds of farmers to obtain biogas from animal feces

A young Costa Rican engineer has enabled hundreds of agricultural producers in America and Africa to produce your own energy with personalized biodigesters that transform organic waste from livestock into biogas. The 200 or so pieces of equipment currently installed have made it possible to save on owners’ energy bills thanks to the reuse of manure, in addition to controlling the level of contamination on farms.

In fact, it is estimated that the installed equipment avoided the emission of 9,000 tonnes of CO2 by the reduction of methane generated by the farm itself, and by the consumption of fossil fuels for energy production, which has been replaced by that supplied by the biodigesters designed by Joaquín Víquez.

His family roots, linked to the field, his studies as an agronomist and his subsequent experience in farms, led him to create the company Viogaz in 2009 and to give substance to the idea that was in his head after seeing how farms continued to evolve. treating livestock excrement in a polluting and inefficient manner, a luxury difficult to assume for small producers who, in fact, need to adjust their productivity in order to survive.

This is how their biodigester was born, which was recognized by MIT Technology Review because, for a producer to incorporate this technology, it translates into “better use of agricultural residues, improvement of the productivity of developing rural areas “, considers Mark Hoffmann, member of the jury of Innovators under 35 Central America 2016, in which Joaquín Víquez was awarded.

This manure management solution contains farm costs, is designed to be particularly sustainable and is aimed at small and medium farmers, who can replace a large part of the energy consumed by that obtained from biogas.

The company offers advisory and training services to farmers, as well as two biodigester options. The first, the biodigesters from Viogaz, with up to twenty models available from 2 to 120 cubic meters of capacity liquid, so that every farm can find the one that suits its needs. The invention, created with a PVC geomembrane, has a useful life of 10 years.

The second possibility is the Covered lagoons of Viogaz, preferable for a liquid capacity greater than 360 cubic meters, and suitable for farms that have lagoons which, with this alternative, are covered at the bottom and top with a polyethylene geomembrane. The useful life of this option is estimated between 12 and 15 years.

Many producers who need these technologies do not have the resources to acquire them. For this reason, the company headed by this young man has launched a initiative through the Kiva organization to grant microcredits that allow small farmers to provide their farms with this complete solution to improve manure management.

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