The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review gave Joaquín Viquez its Young Innovators in Central America 2016 award. Viquez is the manager of the Costa Rican based Viogaz company which offers small businesses customized bio-digesters that convert livestock waste into biogas that can be used by farmers.
Since its inception in 2009, Viogaz has installed bio-digesters in 223 homes and farms. Viogaz set up renewable energy projects using waste in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Chile, the United States and Nigeria where it has generated 8 million cubic meters of methane equivalent to almost 5 million liters of gasoline. This involved the treatment of more than 400 thousand tons of manure, which is the equivalent of treating 1.8 million people’s wastewater.
Víogaz set itself apart because of the example it provides for young people. Víquez grew up in a family dedicated to farming and learned from this parents that agricultural production is increasingly challenging, particularly on a small scale where competition and regulations can suffocate owners. Viquez understood first hand that every advantage could be decisive for a business.
MIT's Technology Review, published since 1899 and the oldest journal in the world in its field, also recognized six other Central Americans in areas such as plasma research, banking technology, wastewater and cancer treatments. The Technology Review is considered a benchmark in topics related to the future of technology in the Internet, telecommunications, energy, information technology, materials, biomedicine and business.