Dr. Janis Kleperis, Dr. Liga Grinberga, MSc. Imants Dirba,
Institute of Solid State Physics of University of Latvia Bc. Ilze Klepere, Faculty of Biology of University of Latvia

RESEARCHES OF HYDROGEN TECHNOLOGIES IN LATVIA

Hydrogen is clean energy carrier and can be obtained everywhere on Earth from local resources, including water and energy from renewables (sun, wind, hydropower, geothermal energy). First conception about Hydrogen Economy is published by Jules Verne in 1874 (novel „Mysterious Island”), and renovated in 1976 at World’s 1st Hydrogen Conference in Miami (USA). In Hydrogen Economics hydrogen is obtained from renewables using energy without greenhouse gas emissions, and further is used for storage of energy from renewables. Running out resources of fossil fuels and increasing emissions of greenhouse gases are two main factors to introduce Hydrogen Economics as soon as possible.

Hydrogen based researches in Latvia are with history more than hundred years (W. Ostwald, F. Gulbis, M. Straumanis, A.Dravnieks and others). Two largest Universities in Latvia (University of Latvia and Riga Technical University) and number of enthusiasts are involved in hydrogen related researches today. Latvian Hydrogen Association was established on 2005, but on 2008 Latvia supported European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. Institute of Solid state Physics of University of Latvia is leading hydrogen sub-program in State Energy Program in Energetics, and researches are going on all three main hydrogen Technologies – production, storage and usage.

Looking up on growing prices of fossil fuels and fast developments in hydrogen Technologies, it is recognized that Hydrogen Economy will be implemented in the middle of 21st century. Iceland already announces to be World’s first Hydrogen Country, but Latvia is planning to build coal power station in near future. Nevertheless, implementation of hydrogen in Latvia could reduce dependence from imported fossil resources as in energy, as well as in transport sectors importantly.

Biographies

Janis Kleperis, Dr.Sc.phys. : Water is is the most abundant and most mysterious liquid on Earth, investigated for centuries. Hydrogen economy is based on the science of water, because hydrogen cycle in Hydrogen Economy starts and ends with water. Therefore interest about hydrogen technologies is attracting everybody - not only young and already experienced scientists but also simple people. Janis Kleperis started research work about hydrogen insertion compounds being student under supervision of Dr. Andrejs Lusis, and has number of publications about hydrogen related topics now. J. Kleperis established Hydrogen laboratory at institute of Solid State Physics of University of Latvia on 2006, and research topics are connected with hydrogen production, storage and usage technologies.

Liga Grinberga, Dr.phys.
PhD thesis ‘Research of new composite materials for hydrogen storage’. Received L’Oreal stipend “For women in science”.
Thesis and current work is devoted for investigations of hydride forming materials for hydrogen storage. At the present moment the metal hydride tanks for hydrogen storage are too heavy for successful integration in the transport sector – the use of such kind of container adds around 300 – 400 kg to the overall weight of the car. In order to obtain lighter and cheaper medium for the hydrogen storage, scientists of the Hydrogen Laboratory of Institute of Solid State Physics (University of Latvia) are researching different possibilities to modify the composition of metal hydride alloys based on LaNi5. This material is expensive and heavy, however, it is very suitable for experiments and usage in the atmospheric pressure and room temperature, it is much safe than other similar kind of alloys. That is why the possibilities to make it cheaper and lighter are explored.
Maybe the contribution of Latvian scientist will help to introduce the hydrogen as safe and necessary source of energy.

Imants Dirba, BSc, 2nd year of Master studies
The theme of the bachelor work “Usage of gases of water electrolysis as fuel in the internal combustion engines” is continued in his master studies. The field of investigations is broadened to the direction – how to integrate a wind engine with hydrogen production and storage technologies.
The world are interested in everything that is related with the energy – the energy is all around us, even in the ground, where we walking on, only – how to collect it and use it?

Ilze Klepere, Bachelor of Science in biology, 1st year student of Master studies
Ilze is working in research of estimation of bacterial hydrogen production for one and a half year. Due to the participation in ERASMUS program she had the opportunity to study in Denmark, University of Aarhus for half a year where she was practicing the dissolved gas concentration measuring systems in liquid examples using microsensors. In experimental work Ilze made test systems for her bachelor thesis "Design of experimental test system for

bacterial hydrogen production estimation ". Ilze feels certain about microorganisms as hydrogen producers for future hydrogen economy.  In her master thesis she is now trying to find out which bacteria are available and beneficial for hydrogen production without genetic engineering.