MagNEO project launched to additively manufacture sustainable REE-free permanent magnets

May 22, 2024

The performance of the new permanent magnets will be verified in wind turbine generators and a number of other applications (Courtesy Sintef AS)
The performance of the new permanent magnets will be verified in wind turbine generators and a number of other applications (Courtesy Sintef AS)

A €7.7 million EU project has been established to research alternatives to the use of rare earth elements (REE) in permanent magnet production. The MagNEO project aims to use additively manufactured REE-free AlNiCo (Aluminium, Nickel, Cobalt) alloys, said to be promising due to their higher coercivity at elevated temperatures.

A transition towards renewable energy sources and sustainable mobility is seen as essential for a carbon-neutral, energy-independent Europe, as outlined in the European Green Deal, Fit for 55 targets, REPowerEUplan, and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Plans. By 2040, the demand for rare earth elements, especially for the production of permanent magnets, is expected to be even greater. For example, the number of permanent magnets used in wind turbines will more than triple (especially Nd and Pr1). Furthermore, in the automotive industry, more than 90% of the electrical vehicles sold today use permanent magnet synchronous motors with up to 1 kg of REEs per motor.

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Commenting on the launch of the project, Josephin Enz, PHD, Dr-Ing, IWE, Future Technologies at Nikon SLM Solutions AG, based in Lübeck, Germany stated, “Through the MagNEO project, we are not just redefining the capabilities of Additive Manufacturing; we are setting a new standard for sustainability in the production of permanent magnets. Our innovative approach not only enhances product performance but also significantly lessens our environmental impact, paving the way for a greener future in high-tech industries.”

Objectives

MagNEO’s objective is to develop a robust and sustainable REE-free permanent magnet for emergent energy and mobility applications. The concept hinges upon novel compositions of AlNiCo and High Entropy Alloy (HEA) undergoing similar spinodal decompositions, processed by Additive Manufacturing. The recycling strategies developed will allow environmentally friendly repurposing of disparate metallic constituents, with emphasis on Co recovery.

The performance of the new permanent magnets will be verified for low-speed generators in wind turbines and ship propulsion shafts, high speed (>100 m/s) rotors in heat pumps and ABS sensors and headlight systems in automotive applications.

Consortium

Coordinated by Sintef AS, the MagNEO consortium consists of sixteen partners from ten different European countries. The team is made up of professionals from research organisations, technology providers, manufacturing companies and universities, with standardisation specialists and experts for skill development, communication, dissemination and exploitation.

Partner NameCountry
SINTEF AS (Coordinator)Norway
Teknologian Tutkimuskeskus Vtt OyFinland
University of OsloNorway
Centro Ricerche Fiat ScpaItaly
Nikon SLM Solutions AGGermany
Rtd Talos LimitedCyprus
3D- Components ASNorway
Asociacion De Investigacion MetalurgicaSpain
Magneti Ljubjana Podjeje Za Proizvodnjo MagnetnihSlovenia
Asociacion Centro Tecnologico CeitSpain
The Switch Engineering OyFinland
Conify IkeGreece
Innovation in Research & Engineering SolutionsBelgium
Universitat Fur Weiterbildung KremsAustria
Biog3d Monoprosopsi IkeGreece
3r- Cycle OYFinland

www.cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101130095

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