FP7: REFREEPERMAG: Rare-Earth Free Permanent Magnets

Type of Funding: EU Integrated Research Projects, FP7

REFREEPERMAG is the acronym of the EU-NMP funded project “Rare-Earth Free Permanent Magnets”. Magnets are integral to motors, actuators and generators; they provide the mechanism to turn mechanical energy to electrical energy, and vice versa. The stronger the magnet, the more energy-efficient the device can be, so these earth-containing supermagnets are utilized in computers, automobiles and other vehicles (including hybrid vehicles), consumer electronic products, medical products and systems and motors of all kinds. They add functionality to jet fighter engines, electronic countermeasure systems, missile systems and satellite communication systems. Magnets are also integral parts of alternative energy systems, such as those that harvest wind, wave and tidal power. Globally, permanent magnet markets are expected to increase from $11 billion in 2010 to $15.5 billion by 2020. The rare-earth permanent magnet segment accounts for over 60%, or nearly $ 6 billion in 2008. The rest is covered by Ferrites and Alnico. By using drive motors and generators containing PM magnets, hybrid vehicles can travel roughly 1.8 times the distance of a non-hybrid vehicle on the same quantity of fuel. Use of PM in electric power steering can also deliver a 3.5% saving on CO2 emissions. With the demand for hybrid vehicles growing every year and the expectation that the motors will also be used in electrical vehicles, the number of permanent magnet motors used in vehicles is likely to increase further.

Project Website

Contact Person at UA Ruhr:
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Alfred Ludwig, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

UA Ruhr Researchers:
Prof. Dr. Michael Farle, University of Duisburg-Essen

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