Case Western Reserve University under an ARPA-E funded proof-of-concept project is developing a component-level technology innovation that will eliminate rare earth elements in permanent magnet materials for wind turbine generators and electric vehicle motors. Specifically Dr. David Matthiesen and his team is fabricating bulk powders fully transformed to α’’-Fe16N2 an ordered martensite. These highly magnetic iron-nitride alloys can be used in the magnets that power electric motors found in EVs renewable power generators such as wind turbines and vehicle accessory motors. This step would reduce the overall price of the motor by eliminating the expensive imported rare earth minerals typically found in today's best commercial magnets. The iron-nitride powder is sourced from abundant and inexpensive materials found in the U.S. The ultimate goal of this project is to demonstrate this new magnet system which contains no rare earths in a prototype electric motor.
This could significantly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in the U.S. each year by encouraging the use of clean alternatives to oil and coal.
Patent Application: PCT/US2012/070086 has been filed on Dec. 17 2012 as the IP foundation of this technology.