GreenSpur Wind and Niron Magnetics Collaborate to Develop New Rare Earth-free Generator Solution for the Offshore Wind Market
GreenSpur designed a new, rare earth-free 15MW generator based on Niron’s magnet technology that delivers a 56% reduction in mass and meets required efficiency targets
MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND and MINNEAPOLIS, MN – July 27, 2022 – GreenSpur Wind, the company who has developed a new generator for the global offshore wind market, and Niron Magnetics,
the company pioneering the world’s first high-performance, rare earth-free permanent magnets, today announced a milestone in developing a new, lighter, and highly efficient rare earth-free generator solution for the offshore wind market. The findings have been verified by ORE Catapult, the UK’s leading technology innovation and research center for offshore renewable energy.
According to the Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition (OREAC), offshore wind is forecast to reach 1,400GW by 2050 and will be a crucial component in the transition to net-zero emissions. However, the industry’s reliance on expensive, supply-constrained rare earth magnets, historically considered essential components in generators for wind turbines, has created a barrier to rapid progress.
“Existing turbines use radial-flux generators, and the current designs are reliant 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 the use of rare-earth free magnets possible. Our patented concept can eliminate the risks associated with supply chain constraints and volatile pricing.”
Past iterations of the GreenSpur generator had attracted interest, but there were concerns about its mass. Keeping generator mass within the same range as existing machines is important, as adding weight requires more structural support, which increases cost. By designing with Niron’s Generation 1 Clean Earth Magnet™, which offers significantly stronger magnetic performance than the ferrites used in its earlier generator designs, GreenSpur developed a new 15MW generator. Based upon initial non-optimized results, the new generator delivers a significant 56% reduction in mass.
“Our Clean Earth Magnet™ technology helps eliminate reliance on expensive, supply constrained, rare earth-based magnets, without compromising on performance,” said Andy Blackburn, CEO of Niron Magnetics. “Device designers and manufacturers take our technology and realize its impact. By working with GreenSpur, we have been able to demonstrate what can be achieved with our Generation 1 technology in wind applications, with innovative materials and innovative device design coming together to enable a potentially transformative solution for the offshore market.”
Supported by an Innovate UK grant, the new 15MW generator design was reviewed by ORE Catapult, the UK’s leading technology innovation and research center for offshore renewable energy. The review confirmed that GreenSpur’s 15MW generator design is now able to meet the mass and efficiency targets required by the market.
“We have worked with GreenSpur in support of their hugely innovative and disruptive technology for several years. Although there was interest in a rare earth-free solution, there were concerns that their generator would be too heavy,” said Tony Quinn, Director of Technology Development at ORE Catapult.
“However, with Niron’s novel rare earth-free magnet, GreenSpur is able to show attractive mass and efficiency targets and a credible solution for consideration within a next generation turbine. We are now helping GreenSpur and Niron to present this opportunity to OEMs, developers, and strategic investors. The aim is to create an industry consortium with the right combination of players to bring this offering to market”.
Work to form the consortium is underway. For more information on this effort, please reach out to Andrew Hine at GreenSpur.
In Hine’s words, “The risk that the rare earth magnet supply chain poses to international offshore wind is existential. For the first time, we have a path that takes this risk out of the equation.”
About GreenSpur Wind
GreenSpur Wind has developed a new Rare Earth-free generator to address the critical materials supply chain risk facing the renewables sector. GreenSpur’s generator has been developed over the last five years and has completed detailed testing at the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in Blyth, UK. The Company is now focused on commercialising it for use within the wind and tidal energy markets. GreenSpur’s unique modular design means it can deliver solutions from 10kW to 20MW plus levels. The Company has a clear technology roadmap to guide its commercialisation strategy. The GreenSpur generator contains numerous electromagnetic innovations and is protected by 11 international patent filings. For more information on GreenSpur Wind and its technology, please visit: https://www.greenspur.co.uk/.
About Niron Magnetics
Niron Magnetics is developing the world’s first advanced manufacturing process for the mass production of permanent magnets powered by its breakthrough material formulation. Niron’s proprietary Clean Earth Magnet™ technology based on Iron Nitride enables magnets that possess inherently higher magnetization and can be produced at a lower cost compared to today’s rare earth magnets and will enable a revolution in the design of new electric motors and generators. Niron participates in a U.S. Department of Energy funded project that aims to develop more cost effective and sustainable drivetrains for electric vehicles. For more information on Niron Magnetics and its technology, please visit https://www.nironmagnetics.com/.
Andrew Hine for GreenSpur Wind
+44 7801 081520
Kalyn Kolek for Niron Magnetics