DOE to Invest in EEC’s Rare Earth Magnet Research

Electron Energy Corporation (EEC), a producer of rare earth magnets and magnet systems, has announced that the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will invest in its applied research project examining novel magnetic materials which reduce, eliminate or more efficiently utilize rare earth elements. EEC’s project will demonstrate an innovative, inexpensive processing route to produce next generation nanocomposite magnets in bulk form.

ARPA-E, a component of the Department of Energy established by Congress in 2006 to improve the technical innovation of the energy sector, will fund the EEC led team with $2,904,000 over the course of 3 years.

“We look forward to our work with ARPA-E on this program and hope to develop an economical, industrial scalable process for producing a very high performance, cost effective magnet,” said Peter Dent, vice president of Business Development at EEC.

EEC will lead the research effort and combine its expertise with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a Department of Energy Laboratory managed by DOE’s Office of Science, and Ames Laboratory which is operated for DOE by Iowa State University. EEC and its collaborators will work to develop a new solid state processing technology which could transform how current magnets are fabricated. This process will directly result in exchange-coupled nanocomposites and has the potential to reduce the total rare earth content by 30 percent or more. It could also more than double the energy product of the magnets which is a key measure of magnet strength. The new process is continuous and scalable. It has promise to be a reliable and economical means to produce high energy-density magnets needed for advanced traction motors, wind power generators and many other applications.