Matthew Orosz MEng '03, SM '06, PhD '12 had a lot to be proud of on June 7.
Not only was he invested with his doctoral hood from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, but he also was named a 2012 Echoing Green Fellow to further the development of his company STG International on improving access to energy in the developing world.
Since its founding in 1987, Echoing Green has invested more than $31 million in seed funding in 500-plus social entrepreneurs and their innovative organizations. According to Echoing Green, of the thousands who apply for a fellowship each year, fewer than 1 percent are typically selected.
Orosz developed STG International during his time at MIT with fellow students, including co-founder Amy Mueller '02, MEng '03, PhD '12. STG International, a nonprofit organization, provides innovative, affordable and renewable energy for individuals in the developing world through uniquely designed solar collectors and local, independently owned energy systems. STG's solar collectors are designed as parabolic troughs that focus the energy of sunlight onto a pipe containing a thermal fluid. The fluid is then used to power a generator connected to the solar collectors, thereby creating a closed loop energy source.
"Winning IDEAS crucially elevated the 'Parabolic Power' project out of the classroom and gave it the financial support and credibility to stand on its own," Orosz says. "IDEAS gave us the leverage to build the STG team and attract resources toward the problem we are intent on solving: 30,000 health centers and 60,000 schools worldwide are still off the grid."
STG is dedicated to providing renewable energy, which Orosz views as "the only solution to the growing tension between the aspirations of the developing world and the global threat of climate change."
Orosz honed his knowledge and passion for engineering as a Peace Corps volunteer on the banks of the Senqu River in the village of Tlokoeng, Lesotho, where he lived without electricity or running water. Like everyone else in his village, he "wondered when the government was going to build a bridge, improve the roads and get electricity and running water to the communities." When he realized he might be waiting for the rest of his life, he said that he "resolved to learn how to design sustainable infrastructure to meet the challenges of remote areas."