Casey Crownhart of MIT Technology Review writes about new magnets that could accelerate climate action.
- Permanent magnets are necessary for clean energy technologies to function, but the rare earth minerals that power them are expensive and may become pricier as demand increases in the coming years.
- One Minnesota start up is addressing this issue by building a large-scale manufacturing facility to produce and strengthen the magnetic properties iron nitride, a magnetic material derived from common elements.
- Building magnets with iron nitride would eliminate the need for rare earth metals, which could potentially reduce costs.
“Rowntree and his colleagues see iron nitride as part of the solution to the anticipated problem of constraints in the supply of rare earth metals. Iron nitride magnets don’t use those metals, and they don’t require cobalt, another metal sometimes used in magnets (and in lithium-ion batteries) that’s under growing scrutiny because of the environmental and humanitarian issues often associated with its mining. And some experts say these iron-based materials might end up creating magnets just as strong as those that include rare earth metals.”
Read the full article here.