Rare Earths: More permanent magnets used to improve electric motors

Electric motor

Linear Labs in Texas, USA, has claimed at least two times more torque density and three times more power density in its HET (Hunstable Electric Turbine) compared to other high-performance permanent magnet motors. In addition to using less copper, motor performance specs are quoted by the company to have 10% more range for a given battery size.

The technology (including operating software) also allows the motor to operate under certain conditions when some coils in the stator become damaged—a critical feature in applications where motor failure affects health and safety. The company obtained US$4.5M in seed funding in Q1 2019.

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Electric motors are receiving growing attention following global electrification trends in transportation and the improved efficiency requirements to optimise electricity consumption in both on- and off-grid applications. While plastic electric motors (developed by Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology) look to reduce the housing weight of motors, Linear Labs and Yasa Motors (with its axial-flux motor) look to improve motor output to increase range.

It seems that, for now, improved performance in electric motors can be accomplished by improved permanent magnet distribution within the motor. Both Linear Labs’ and Yasa’s technologies utilise larger quantities of magnets for a given motor size. In the current magnet technology, neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets lead the pack in terms of power-density, firmly setting rare earths as part of the future of high-performance and weight-critical electric motors.

Roskill published its Rare Earths: Global Industry, Markets & Outlook report in December 2018, which includes three updates that provide you with up-to-date supply, demand and price forecasts out to 2028, along with profiles of major producers, processors and end-users. Click here to download the brochure and sample pages, or to access further information.

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This article was written by Nils Backeberg. Please get in touch below if you wish to discuss further:

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