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UQM Claims Non-Rare-Earth Breakthrough

November 14, 2012 in Electric Drive, EVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

‘Power-Density & Efficiency Without Rare-Earth Magnets’

UQM Technologies (NYSE:UQM) says it’s “made a significant breakthrough” toward a competitive permanent magnet motor that doesn’t use rare-earth magnets.

“We’ve developed an electromagnetic design that produces competitive power-density and efficiency with non-rare-earth magnets,” UQM president and CEO Eric Ridenour said in a release.

“This is great progress toward our objective of identifying magnet materials and technology that can deliver the performance our customers expect while limiting our exposure to price and supply concerns associated with rare-earth magnets.” Most rare-earth materials are imported from China.

UQM engineering VP Jon Lutz

The emphasis is on replacement of neodymium and dysprosium, elements that help keep permanent magnets permanent, with more readily available materials, Ridenour told F&F.

The next phase is mechanical design, UQM says, with a concept-unit build slated for 2013.

$4 Million in DoE Support

“The key to using non-rare-earth magnets in electric motors for vehicles is our patent-pending motor geometry, which in part defines the shape and magnetization direction of the permanent magnets,” said UQM engineering VP Jon Lutz.

“The completion of the electromagnetic design and analysis task is a significant step in the process of advancing motor and generator technology for electric and hybrid electric vehicles, providing an alternative to rare-earth magnets in permanent-magnet motor designs,” Lutz said.

UQM’s work on non-rare-earth magnet motors is funded via a $4 million U.S. DoE advanced R&D grant. UQM is cost-sharing 25% of the total effort. The UQM engineering team is working with engineers and researchers and engineers at the Ames and Oak Ridge National Labs, and at NREL, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado.


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Source: UQM Technologies with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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