National Research Programme No. 2010.10-4/VPP-5
“Sustainable Use of Local Resources (Entrails of the Earth, Forest, Food and Transport) – New Products and Technologies (NatRes)”

Project No.1. Development of new Technologies for evaluation of innovative products from mineral resources of Latvia (MINERAL RESOURCES)

Project leader: Dr.geol. Valdis Segliņš, University of Latvia, Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences


Project performers:

  • University of Latvia, Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences, Department of Geology
  • University of Latvia, Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences, Department of Environmental science
  • University of Latvia, Faculty of Biology
  • University of Latvia, Institute of Microbiology & Biotechnology
  • Riga Technical University, Faculty of Material Science and Applied Chemistry, Department of General Chemical Engineering
  • Riga Technical University, Institute of Silicate Materials

Project implementation term: 48 months (2010-2013)


Aim and target: Develop new technologies for innovative products from mineral resources of Latvia.



  • Evaluate the Latvia clay deposits regarding possibilities to be used for manufacturing of new products and development of specific ceramic technologies;
  • Development of technologies to reach high disperse substances, evaluate on the base of Latvia clay resources to be applied for innovative applications in sorbtion processes, environmental technologies, in medicine and cosmetics;
  • Elaboration of  mix of Latvian raw materials for the production of expanded clay ceramic with megascopic porosity, sorption ability, biotechnological activity and new application  by new energy saving thermal shock technology;
  • To develop research on peat and sapropel properties and new applications;
  • To develop innovative functional products consisting of ceramics and microorganisms for implementing in environmental biotechnology.


  • Recognise clay deposits sedimentation and geological structure conditions, evaluate possibilities for selective mining of clay with certain composition, studies of clay in details, evaluate selective clay mining potential and costs; develop geophysical mineral resources study and evaluation methods and technologies;
  • Develop new technologies and adapt for manufacturing of innovative ceramics  products, evaluate the new products and technologies, introduce new technologies and schemes in pilot or test scale;
  • Production of new innovated product – cellular ceramic in the laboratory from Devonian raw materials by content of silt 30% and 40 %;
  • Estimate the influence of accelerated thermal treatment process on the properties of cellular ceramic – bulk density, properties of sorption and filtration, influence of wood and vegetable processing by-products on the structure of cellular ceramic and on the possibility to enlargement of specific surface of highly dispersed clayly systems. Replacement possibility of fossil organic raw materials by wood and vegetable processing by-products in the technology of expanded clay ceramic;
  • Investigate and estimate the sorption and filtration properties of expanded clay granules for the quality of drinking water, binding of oit products, decreasing of pollution level in the open water;
  • To study peat properties and their dependence on humification processes, evaluate impact of peat formation conditions on application potential;
  • To develop new, innovative peat based  products and materials (peat sorbents for removal of oil, metals, organic substances. Elaborate peat modification methods, including graft polymerization. Study properties and application possibilities of peat humic substances in agriculture;
  • To evaluate an efficiency of different ceramic materials in terms of microorganisms imobilization, viability and activity in biofiltration processes, for air and soil treatment.

Short description of project activities: 

The aim of the Program ir to support and initiate innovative products manufacturing, based on reassessment of available subsoil resources in Latvia and evaluate necessary technologies. Therefore it is planned to study in details and evaluate step by step whole production chain from raw materials in particular geological structures, evaluate selective mining potential based on modern analytical studies and scientific analysis, study mineral composition and properties of Latvia clay deposits, and estimate mining costs and potential economic benefits. This will provide necessary knowledge regarding possibilities to reach in Latvia clay deposits corresponding composition and properties to developed processing technologies for innovative and market oriented products. It known, those technologies will required special admixtures to enrich natural clay raw material. This lead to the Second task – technologies and processes development to reach certain clay size or mineral composition fractions (concentrates), to be utilised in the Third and Fourth task , but besides economical evaluation will be important as well. These results can provide ground for development the products and technologies with higher value added (biotechnologies) applied to the new ceramic products (the Task no 6). This is related to the task no 4 – peat and sapropel studies in details to reach new technologies and products, like sorbents, concentrates, substrates for certain microbiological technologies. To reach mentioned above targets, the specialized scientific groups ware organised in several institutions as scientific consortium with high sin energy of knowledge, experience, resources under the general aim of the project.


Sub-project 1
Evaluation of clay in Latvia regarding possibilities to develop new techologies and products

Responsible performer: Dr. geol. Valdis Segliņš, University of Latvia, Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences, Department of Geology.


Study based on conditions set by new Technologies to produce innovative products and will contain target oriented systematic studies of clay deposits, geological structure, clay mineral composition, physical and chemical properties satisfactory for new Technologies.  Studies are mainly addressed to known and fair studied clay deposits aiming to reach necessary composition and properties of natural clay to be selectively extracted for manufacturing of new products. To reach the goal the new and adapted already known methods and technologies (e.g. studies in situ) and economic evaluation of selective extraction will be evaluated.
One of subproject component is coordination of Project activities, printing of major results, management of scientific conferences and public information activities regarding Project results and applied outcomes.


Sub-project 2
Technology and research of high dispersion system obtaining based on Latvian clays; for innovative application in sorption processes, environment technologies, medicine and cosmetics

Responsible performer: Prof., Līga Bērziņa-Cimdiņa, Riga Technical University, Faculty of Material Science and Applied Chemistry, Institute of General Chemical Engineering.

New technologies for manufacturing of innovative products will surely require modifications of natural clay composition, which will be performed by enriching raw clay materials with enriched additives of certain minerals or fractions. In the same time, these high quality separated fractions serve as valuable resources for development of new innovative products. Thus, during this research project, several integrated researches will be realized, aimed onto evaluation and obtaining of high quality separated products from natural clays (obtaining precise fraction); obtaining and analysis of modified high dispersive systems based on Latvian clays for innovative application in sorption, catalysis and agglomeration processes in environment technologies, usage in medicine, including cosmetics.


In addition, obtaining and analysis of high dispersion systems is planned, along with research of sorption, catalysis and agglomeration properties of precise clay fractions. The research will be resulted in analysis of Latvian clays being used as resource of various innovative products.


Sub-project 3.
New ceramics products and technologies

Responsible performer: Dr.habil.chem. Gaida Sedmale, Riga Technical University, Institute of Silicate Materials.


Any ceramic product is obtained by using elevated temperatures, so the process is energy consuming to be sufficiently large, mostly energy consumptions, but the resulting product is intended for long-term / long service use, unlike other materials. it is the largest added value. Researches of the direction will be targeted towards a new technology development and adaptation for obtaining of innovative ceramic products as well as transfer and application of natural processes in manufacturing of new innovative ceramic products. This will include the research of mineral raw materials (definite deposits of clay, limestone, dolomite) at normal and elevated temperatures and their application for specific product development.


The direction has also a regional view and it is intended to obtain data related to specific regions of Latvia and these data have to be open access for the manufacturing enterprise technologists, as well as their use for production adjustment and reorganization.


Sub-projet 4.
Energy saving high porosity expanded clay ceramic technologies

Responsible performer: Dr.habil.chem. Visvaldis Švinka, Riga Technical University, Institute of Silicate Materials.


Direction of investigation provides obtaining of cellular ceramic in the laboratory conditions, determination of quality of this ceramic, optimization of technological parameters of producing. The investigations of influence of thermal treatment processes (temperature, time) on the bulk density of new cellular ceramic materials will be perform. Separate investigation will be dedicate to estimation of influence of wood and vegetable processing by-products on the structure of cellular ceramic. The energy saving thermal treatment method – technology for the production of cellular ceramic and patent of this technology will be provided in the final stage of this direction of investigation.


Sub-project 5.
Peat and sapropel as substrates for new added value technologies and products

Responsible performer: professor, Dr. habil.chem. Māris Kļaviņš, University of Latvia, Department of Environmental science.


Within the frame of National research program it is planned to implement new methods for studies of peat properties and expand peat application options to develop new added value products with innovatiove application, thus supporting rational use of peat and supporting sustainable use of natural resouces. Within project it is planned to study properties of peat depending on its formation conditions at different stages of organic matter diagenesis and impact of peat heterogeneity on application possibilities. Combining intyerdisciplinary approaches and knowledge it is planned to develop new materials (sorbents) for possible application in environmental technologies and biopharmacy. Also application potential for humic substances in agriculture will be studied.


Sub-project 6.
Novel biotechnological products and technologies based on ceramsite

Responsible performer: Dr.biol. Olga Mutere, Institute of Microbiology & Biotechnology, University of Latvia


The recent study on the biofiltration processes performed at the Institute of Microbiology & Biotechnology, University of Latvia, demonstrated a high potential for enhancing a biofiltration efficiency in a column with ceramic beads as a carrier. The process efficiency can be improved through combination of nutrition composition and the feeding scheme. Therefore, a) target properties of ceramic beads; b) microorganisms with high degradation potential; and c) optimisation of feeding scheme and physical-and-chemical parameters are the main tools for development of the air biofiltration column and soil remediation technologies. Experiments on the selection of the most appropriate ceramic materials for microorganism immobilisation are proposed for this activity. This comparative study will be performed in cooperation with researchers, who are involved in the other Program’s projects with the task to improve the surface of ceramic bead for further immobilisation of microorganisms.

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