The NEOHIRE project, coordinated by Ceit-IK4, kicks off
The Neohire project emerged from the need to meet the demands for electricity in Europe through the year 2050. It is forecasted that there will be less pollution worldwide thanks to the use of electricity as our principal power source, which means that we need to consider a power system that is able to satisfy our needs safely and efficiently. It is estimated that by the year 2020, 20% of the power that we consume will be wind-generated.
The objective of the NEOHIRE project is to reduce the use of rare earth elements(1) in the manufacture of the permanent magnets used in wind turbine generators. NEOHIRE falls under the European ‘H2020-Advanced Materials’ Program and has been granted over 4 million euros in funding.
Ceit-IK4 is coordinating the project, which has a total of 10 partners from 6 different countries, including a strategic collaboration with Japan. Ceit-IK4 researcher José Manuel Martín (Metallic 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.
(1) Rare earth refers to the group of 17 chemical elements that have similar properties. Included in this group are scandium, yttrium and the lanthanides (neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium) that compose neodymium-steel-boron (NdFeB) magnets, the most powerful magnets in existence. By varying the composition, magnets with specific properties are produced for specific purposes. These elements are critical to the production of magnets as they are not substitutable and they are primarily extracted in China. NdFeB magnets are used in numerous applications, such as in the “green industry” (electric cars, hybrid cars, turbines, etc.), hard drive read/write heads, speakers, headphones, etc.