GreenSpur, Niron Develop Rare Earth-Free Power Generation Solution
GreenSpur Wind and Niron Magnetics have announced a new rare earth-free power generation solution for the offshore wind market. The findings have been validated by ORE Catapult, the UK’s innovation and research center for offshore renewable energy technologies.
“Existing turbines use radial flux generators and current designs rely on rare earth magnets,” said Andrew Hine, commercial director at GreenSpur Wind. “However, we employ a unique and highly innovative axial flux architecture that makes it possible to use rare-earth-free magnets.”
Past iterations of the GreenSpur generator have drawn interest, but there have been concerns about their quality. It is important to keep the mass of the generator within the same range as the existing machine, as the added weight requires more structural support, which adds to the cost. GreenSpur has developed a new 15MW generator by designing it using Niron’s first generation clean earth magnets, which offer stronger magnetic properties than the ferrite used in their earlier generator designs. Based on the original non-optimized results, the mass of the new generator was significantly reduced by 56%.
“Our clean earth magnet technology helps eliminate the reliance on expensive, supply-constrained, rare earth-based magnets without compromising performance,” said Andy Blackburn, CEO of Niron Magnetics. “Equipment designers and manufacturers adopt our technology and realize its impact.By working with GreenSpur, we have been able to demonstrate what our first generation technology can achieve in wind energy applications, bringing together innovative materials and innovative device designs to deliver potentially transformative solutions for the offshore market plan.”
With support from the UK Innovation Fund, the new 15MW generator design was reviewed by ORE Catapult, the UK’s leading center for innovation and research in offshore renewable energy technology. The review confirmed that GreenSpur’s 15MW generator design is now capable of meeting the quality and efficiency targets demanded by the market.
“We have been working with GreenSpur for many years, supporting their highly innovative and disruptive technology. While there is interest in a rare earth-free solution, there are concerns that their generators will be too heavy. However, with Niron With its new rare-earth-free magnets, GreenSpur is able to demonstrate attractive quality and efficiency targets, as well as a reliable solution for consideration in next-generation turbines. We are now helping GreenSpur and Niron demonstrate this opportunity to OEMs, developers and strategic investors .The goal is to create an industry consortium with the right mix of players to bring this product to market,” said Tony Quinn, Director of Technology Development at ORE Catapult.
“The risk posed by the rare earth magnet supply chain to international offshore wind exists. For the first time, we have found a path to exclude this risk,” Hine said.