Kropf offers study abroad for renewable energy frontiers


Pitt-Bradford students have a new option for studying abroad with a faculty member.

Dr. Matt Kropf, director of the Energy Institute and assistant professor of energy science and technology, led a group of students from the Oakland campus to Germany and Switzerland in May to study renewable energy.

He plans to return next May and hopes that Pitt-Bradford students will be among those on the trip.

Students from all four undergraduate Pitt campuses are eligible to make the 12-day trip, which will examine how policy can affect sustainable development and what sustainable approaches look like in urban and rural settings.

Kropf is the third Pitt-Bradford faculty or staff member to develop a course for study abroad. Orin James, instructor of biology, has lead a program in Comparative Health Care in Graz to Austria for several years. Dr. Patricia Brougham, assistant professor of criminal justice, leads a program each spring to study Comparative Justice in Ireland.

Kropf explained that requirements implemented by the European Union have put EU countries ahead of the United States in the implementation of green technology and renewable energy, making it the ideal place for engineering, environmental science and geology, environmental studies, history/political-science and international affairs students to see large-scale implementation of green technologies.

Kropf said a highlight of the 2018 trip was Freiburg, Germany, where a portion of the city is a “green block” in which homes and other buildings are energy neutral or even energy positive. The city has set a target of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

He will return to Freiburg this year with students and may even stay in an energy neutral hotel, providing students with another chance to see green technologies in every day action. Kropf said one of the most valuable parts of the trip was simply seeing the extent to which green living is part of the culture, including massive bicycle parking areas and extensive public transportation networks.

In Switzerland, the group toured one of the most complex hydroelectric systems in the Alps at Grimselwelt, which Kropf called “a modern marvel.”

Other stops are Heidelberg in Germany, Zurich and the Entelbuch Biosphere in Switzerland, 400 square kilometers of unspoiled moorland at the forefront of eco-tourism.

For more information, contact Kropf at