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Ames Lab Scientists Receive DOE Award to Commercialize Promising Magnetic Technology

Ames Iver Emma Liang

Ames Laboratory senior metallurgist Iver Anderson and postdoctoral research associate Emma White have been awarded a $325,000 grant from the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF).

Anderson and White’s grant is for their project, Manufacturing of Alnico (iron-aluminum-nickel-cobalt) Magnets for Energy-Efficient Traction-Drive Motors.

“Both Emma and I are very excited to have received this award to further our alnico magnet research,” said Anderson. “We’re thankful to the DOE for recognizing our project’s potential to help industry.”

Anderson and White’s project involves testing the performance of at least one set of full-scale powder processed alnico (non-rare earth) magnets in a complete energy-efficient advanced drive motor to verify that they can reach the energy density and mechanical properties targets of the motor designers. The project also involves three significant targeted improvements over typical rare-earth magnets in existing drive motors—lower materials cost, decreased cooling needs, and lower magnet-processing costs. 

White says she and Anderson will work toward reproducible production of dozens (approximately 84) of full-scale enhanced alnico magnets made via Ames Laboratory’s novel powder-processing approach. They will test and verify that alnico magnets can provide a suitable performance level against targets the DOE has set for 2022 for advanced motor designs, and link together a likely industrial supply chain for the magnets.

In addition to funding from TCF, partners in the project include Carpenter Powder Products, Arnold Magnetic Technologies Corporation, UQM Technology Inc., Ford Motor Company, Iowa Energy Center, Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory.  These partners will match the $325,000 from the DOE, bringing the total two-year project budget to $650,000.

“With the industrial partners on our team, we can accelerate the trials and introduction of our new DOE-developed technology to make real progress on alnico magnets and rare-earth-free next-generation traction drive motors,” said White.

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