Permanent magnets are vital components in an enormous number of domestic and industrial devices, and they are particularly crucial within the rapidly-developing renewable energy sector, where the motors for electric vehicles and the generators in wind turbines require strong magnets with the ability to operate at temperatures well over 100°C. Currently, these magnets are based on the rare earth elements neodymium and dysprosium, which are predominantly mined in China (>95%). Exports are being restricting as a result of an expanding domestic market and a policy of relocating magnet manufacturing to China, thereby multiplying the costs of raw materials for magnet manufacturers in Europe. The rare-earth crisis is particularly critical for heavy rare earths such as dysprosium that are currently required to assure the high temperature performance of the magnets. In accordance with EU objectives to remove, or greatly reduce, the need for heavy rare earths in permanent magnets, ROMEO will first research and develop several novel microstructural-engineering strategies that will dramatically improve the properties of magnets based purely on light rare earths elements, especially the coercivity, which will enable them to be used for applications above 100°C. ROMEO’s second ambitious goal is to develop a totally rare-earth-free magnet; aiming to drastically reduce Europe’s dependence on Chinese imports while shifting emphasis in magnet manufacturing from a raw-materials-dependent business to one that is essentially knowledge-based, and flourishing in Europe. The ROMEO consortium assembles the best European academic expertise in permanent magnetism together with world-leading magnet manufacturers and European companies who are eager to exploit these newly developed materials, especially within the “green energy” sector, while external advisory board members in the USA and Japan bring special expertise and global reach to the ROMEO consortium.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeCP-FP - Small or medium-scale focused research project
3100 St. Poelten