LCS-09.1553, cooperation project

Period of execution (years) 2009-2012

Project leader: Dr. Ēriks Palčevskis (Riga Technical University, Institute of Inorganic chemistry, RTU IIC)

This LCS project combines the following applied research projects granted from 2009:

1. RTU IIC project “Porous alumina ceramics modified with the plasma processed nanopowders for power and chemical technologies”, Dr. E. Palčevskis;

2. Institute of Solid State Physics, University of Latvia (ISSP UL) project “Research and development of proton conducting PEEK polymer and composite membranes and catalysts for use in direct methanol and hydrogen fuel cells” Dr. J. Kleperis;

3. RTU IIC project “Development of new high temperature materials from nanopowders using the latest modern compacting techniques” Dr. I. Zalite;

4. ISSP UL project “Research of properties and structure of nanosize composite materials for hydrogen storage and electrodes for water electrolysis”, Dr. L. Grinberga;

5. UL and RTU joint project “Latvian mineral resources and innovative functional materials on a base of synthetic and mineral raw materials” Dr. V. Seglins.

The main task of the joint project is to develop new nanostructured materials using local raw materials and nanopowders for applications to reduce energy consumption as well as to provide storage of an environmentally clean fuel –gaseous hydrogen - and its usage in transport and energetics.

ISSP UL sub-project (head Dr. L. Grinberga) had two main tasks that are associated with hydrogen storage and development of proton conducting membranes for successful conversion of hydrogen into electricity.

The hypothesis according to hydrogen storage solution was that combination of hydride-forming material and the oxide will create an original composite material, which will absorb larger amount of hydrogen comparing with the source materials. New material was synthesized using natural clinoptilolite covered with nanosize palladium particles, which can be used as a hydrogen accumulating environment. The grain size effect on hydrogen absorption and desorption kinetics was defined and the use of a new composite in a hydrogen storage tank prototype was evaluated.

A work according to proton conducting membranes was based on the idea that combinations of several polymers and admixtures of oxide nanoparticles will produce mechanically stable structures in polymer. After different post-processing methods high proton conductivity was achieved. The structure, composition and electrochemical and physical properties are defined in the new materials. Prototype of fuel cell and electrolyser based on new material is created and power characteristics are determined.