NEOHIRE

Financed by

European Commission

Program: H2020-EU.2.1.3.

Grant ID: 720838

Partners

  • Ceit (Coordinator)

  • Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea

  • University of Birmingham

  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der angewandten Forschung E.V..

  • Fundación Cidaut

  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

  • Aichi Seiko Kabushiki Kaisha

  • Kolektor Magnet Technology GmbH

  • Universita degli Studi di Firenze

  • Indar Electric SL

Summary

The Neohire project emerged from the need to meet the demands for electricity in Europe through the year 2050. Meeting that demand requires breakthrough on 3 major barriers faced by NdFeB permanent magnet technology for wind turbines: a) the strong dependence on China for permanent magnet supply and the high price of the rare earth elements (REE) present in permanent magnets, b) the difficulty of finding REE substitutes for permanent magnets, and c) the technical and economic barriers that hinder the establishment of commercially viable, large-scale REE recycling framework.

In this context, Neohire’s main objective is to reduce the use of REEs and critical raw materials like cobalt and gallium in wind turbine generators. This objective is being addressed primarily through the development of: a) new concept of bonded NdFeB magnets that can substitute the present state-of-the-art sintered magnets in wind turbines, and b) new recycling techniques for critical raw materials from current and future permanent magnet waste. This will reduce the EU’s external demand for REEs and critical raw materials for permanent magnets in wind turbine generators by 50%.

The specific objectives are:

  • To develop a new NdFeB material solution that reduces the use of REEs and critical raw materials in permanent magnets in wind turbine generators (100% of HRE, 30% of LRE Nd/Pr, and 100% of Co and Ga).

  • To increase the deliverable electric power in wind power electric generators from 2.74 MW to 3.56 MW per 1Tn of REE owing to novel electric machine designs.

  • To research and develop two recycling processes to greatly increase critical raw material recycling rates in NdFeB permanent magnet wastes for sintered permanent magnets from current wind turbines (increase from the recovered Nd 0 to 70%, separate 100% of Dy and recover 90% of Co) and novel bonded Neohire permanent magnet (recycling almost 95% of Nd).

  • To create a large-scale framework for commercial NdFeB permanent magnet recycling that is economically and technically feasible.

  • To ensure the economic and technical sustainability of NdFeB resin-bonded permanent magnet developed technologies.

Ceit's role in the project

Ceit researcher José Manuel Martín (Metal Powders Group) is serving as the project’s lead coordinator and head of the production and characterization of magnetic powders, while Miguel Martínez-Iturralde (Electric Vehicle and Smart Grids Group) is in charge of designing the active parts of a full-scale wind turbine generator.