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Divesting from turbine generators that use Neodymium Iron Boron (NdFeB) magnets (also known as rare-earth magnets) sounds, at the moment, like a pipe dream for the wind industry. But Essex-based SME GreenSpur Renewables is a company with big ambitions, and is focused on developing a new Direct-Drive Permanent Magnet Generator (DD PMG) that doesn’t rely on rare-earth magnets.

The Challenge

The issues with these magnets are many: besides relying on scarce and expensive metals that are almost exclusively mined in China, they are vulnerable to corrosion in seawater atmospheres, and there are practical issues around their assembly. GreenSpur estimates that a switch to ferrite magnets could cut the industry’s magnet costs by 10% and simultaneously cut out the associated supply risk.

Watch GreenSpur's  Backing the Game Changers  Case Study

"Scaling up short term production in the UK could create 200 new manufacturing jobs plus a further 70 in the supply chain. If the technology is deployed at the 2GW to 3GW level, it could lead to the creation of over 3,000 new UK jobs.” Andrew Hine, GreenSpur Renewables

The Solution

ORE Catapult helped GreenSpur obtain an initial funding call to scale up their pioneering ferrite-based magnet generator into a small-scale 75kW prototype, which has been proven on our small drive train test rig. And after our commercial experts helped them develop their pitch, they secured a £1.5m fund from Innovate UK to develop a fully-optimised 250kW unit, which will be tested at the Catapult. When scaled up to multi-MW levels, the savings could be even greater.

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Talk to our Testing & Validation team about our Powertrain Testing Facilities.

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