Development of new permanent magnets for next generation wind turbine technologies
We have a newly funded ARPA-E (Department of Energy) project under the REACT (rare-earth alternatives in critical technologies) program on development of new permanent magnets for wind turbines. The goal of the project is to find a replacement compound for the currently used Nd-Fe-B magnets which are employed in multi-mega watt direct drive permanent magnet wind turbines. In particular, we are working to improve the overall electrical design and cost reduction of the power generators. We are using the combinatorial high-throughput approach (Fig. 1) to systematically look for new high-temperature magnets which do not contain any rare-earth elements such as Nd. The proposed materials innovation is expected to lead to substantial cost reduction in the manufacturing of the wind turbine generators by replacing the magnet materials as well as reducing the active cooling system by going to novel high-temperature magnets.
The project is a collaboration between the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the University of Maryland, Ames Laboratory, University of Texas, Arlington, and the United Technologies Research Center, who directly supports research for Clipper Windpower.