The Innovation Project: Matt Tomko
Matt Tomko works in product development for Renergé.
Matt Tomko, Product Development
In 2006, the community leaders of Vandergrift, Pa. were struggling to secure hydropower from the Kiskiminetas River. Like most rivers around the world, the Kiski was considered ‘technically unrecoverable’ according to the norms of traditional hydropower. This is likely because of its turbulent water flow and meant the river would need a non-turbine option. So Renergé, Inc. Founder Lisa Weiland set out to create one.
She founded Renergé, Inc., which is based at Alloy 26, to develop a new kind of hydropower solution that addresses the needs of remote communities that are unhappy with the cost and obtrusiveness of their electricity options.
Renergé’s Water Horse is a transportable hydro-energy device that’s low cost and minimally disruptive to other river resources. Unlike turbine technologies, the Water Horse doesn’t rely on steady, stable water flows. Instead, it uses a bouncing motion that naturally occurs in turbulent waters. This allows it to harvest kinetic energy from numerous flow resources that are unrecoverable through the use of existing technologies.
“I am proud of the fact that we at Renergé are addressing a worldwide problem with a meaningful solution,” says Matt Tomko, who works in Renergé’s product development. “The potential to help people and provide means of energy generation for those who are currently struggling to afford or harvest the energy is something that I have become passionate about and is a cause that is truly worth working towards.”
As a Pittsburgh native, this progress is particularly meaningful to Tomko.
“As someone who was born and raised in this city, it’s exciting to see how Pittsburgh is growing,” he says. “To be given the chance to contribute to the growth of the city and enhance the perception of Pittsburgh as a hub for technology and innovation is a dream come true.”