Innovation That Matters

Global innovation spotlight: Latvia

Global Innovation Spotlight

From drones that inspect and repair wind turbines to wireless charging for e-scooters, discover exciting innovations from Latvia

Reflecting our global Springwise readership, we explore the innovation landscape and freshest thinking from a new country each week. To celebrate Latvian Independence Day, we are this week heading to the Baltic…

Latvia Innovation Profile

Global Innovation Index ranking: 41st

Climate targets:  A 38 per cent reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 compared to 1990, net zero by 2050

Sustainability issues

Plastic pollution – Due to their situation facing an enclosed sea and the prevailing wind, Latvia’s beaches accumulate a lot of plastic pollution. And a recent study found that samples of plastics and microplastics taken from Latvian and Lithuanian beaches contained the harmful bacteria Vibrio.

Water pollution – The percentage of Latvia’s waterways that are in good condition is lower than the EU average. Agricultural chemicals, forestry activities, industrial pollution, and the use of hydropower all contribute to poor water quality. But one specific issue is the country’s reliance on out-of-date sewers.

Wood burning – Commentators are becoming increasingly concerned about the EU’s reliance on biomass for renewable energy. And Latvia is one of the countries with the highest consumption of wood-based fuel. As households turn to woodstoves to mitigate the current energy crisis, there are fears that there could be a spike in illegal logging.

Sector specialisms

  • – Fintech
  • – Hardware
  • – SaaS

Three Exciting Innovations From Latvia

Photo source Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

WIRELESS CHARGING TECHNOLOGY FOR E-SCOOTERS

The global e-scooter market is skyrocketing as more people are shifting from private and public transport to electric scooter rentals. However, one major consideration is the ability to recharge the scooters on the go – most cities are not equipped for large-scale charging stations, and swapping out batteries is expensive. Enter Meredot, a Latvian developer and manufacturer of fast wireless chargers for e-scooters which has recently unveiled its first commercial wireless charger. Read more

Photo source Thomas Reaubourg on Unsplash

DRONES THAT INSPECT AND REPAIR WIND TURBINES

It is estimated that global capacity for wind power will be over 955 gigawatts by the end of 2022, with China leading the way with 359,770 turbines as of June this year. However, the large number of wind turbines across the globe also means there is a rapidly growing need for innovative wind turbine maintenance systems – especially for offshore turbines. Company Aerones has designed a system that uses drones to conduct such maintenance work. Read more

Photo source Naco Technologies

NEW MATERIALS TO ACCELERATE THE GREEN HYDROGEN TRANSITION

Hydrogen is one oft-touted ‘green’ alternative to fossil fuels. Yet in order to produce green hydrogen, solid oxide and alkaline electrolysers are needed to increase the efficiency of water hydrolysis (splitting H2O into oxygen and hydrogen). While solid electrolysers use common materials such as Nickel or Zirconia, the more eco-friendly proton-exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers use Iridium and Platinum. These are not only expensive, but also relatively scarce. Naco Technologies, however, has now developed a way to reduce the materials needed to produce PEM electrolysers. Read more

Curated by: Matthew Hempstead

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