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High-Efficiency Axial Flux Machines

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HEAF (High-Efficiency Axial Flux Machines)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2018-04-30

Magnax is a spin-off to commercialize Ghent University’s axial flux electric machine research with our patented engineering innovation. We created prototypes of a 4-kW high speed axial flux motor and a 100kW mid-size generator for wind turbines in summer 2017.
The objective of H2020 Phase1 was market analysis of use of the larger low speed machines in the wind energy industry and of the smaller high-speed machines in the domain of electric vehicles. We found that both markets will grow significantly over the following years, so it makes sense to commercialize different sizes of axial flux machines for both markets. From a technical point of view, the main reason why Magnax will be able to do this is because of the inherently scalable design of our electric machines. Based on the findings we have finetuned our product roadmap and market introduction strategy.
By providing an innovative axial flux machine to improve the efficiency of electrical generation and electric motors across multiple segments, from power generation to transport, whilst simultaneously reducing resource requirements, Magnax contributes to a lower carbon and efficient energy system.
We conclude that both sectors (smaller motors for e-mobility and bigger generators for wind turbines) see our product as a must-have, but that the market timing (thus sales cycles) differ. Interactions with experts at wind turbine manufacturers showed that they consider Magnax as a potentially disruptive product, but the time to market will take longer than anticipated. The interest from power generation markets remains significant, and the weight benefits are seen as clear differentiators, so we will build a megawatt generator. On the other hand, based on marketing tests, we have seen a huge interest for smaller motors (mainly for e-mobility purposes). Considering this great opportunity, Magnax has decided to target this market much faster by accelerating the product roadmap and design-to-manufacturing process.
The whole range of Magnax axial flux motors are based on the same modular concept, so we are confident that multiple sizes of the machine can be released in a staged matter (time to market). The next step is the design-to-manufacturing to enable the series-production. Scaling up the organization and delivering multiple models will be a huge challenge, for which additional support under the Horizon 2020 SME instrument phase 2 will be most welcome. However, our preliminary planning shows that not all planned activities can be covered by the scope of a phase 2 project. The models nearest market (AXF275 motor, 100 and 300kW generators) will be commercialized outside the project, funded by local research funding, commercial joint ventures, or presales.