Permanent Magnets And Their Role In Green Energy

Permanent magnets play a crucial role in various applications, including renewable energy technologies. They are materials that can generate a magnetic field without the need for an external power source. These magnets retain their magnetic properties over a long period, hence the name “permanent.”

In the context of renewable energy, permanent magnets are particularly important in the production of electricity from sources such as wind and hydro power. Here are a few examples of their significance in renewable energy technologies:

  1. Wind Turbines: Permanent magnets are used in the generators of wind turbines to convert the mechanical energy from the rotating blades into electrical energy. Typically, these generators employ a type of permanent magnet called a neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnet. NdFeB magnets possess high magnetic strength, allowing for efficient power generation in wind turbines.
  2. Electric Vehicle Motors (EV): Permanent magnets are also integral to the motors used in electric vehicles (EVs). In EVs, these magnets provide the necessary magnetic field for the motor to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy, propelling the vehicle. Permanent magnet motors are known for their high-power density, efficiency, and compact size, making them ideal for electric vehicles.
  3. Wave and Tidal Power Generation: Some wave and tidal power generation systems use permanent magnet generators to convert the kinetic energy of ocean waves or tidal currents into electrical power. These generators harness the movement of magnets relative to coils to induce an electric current.

According to Grand View Research, “The global permanent magnets market size was valued at USD 20.58 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.6% from 2023 to 2030. The rising prominence of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, is anticipated to positively aid the market growth over the forecast period. At present, permanent magnets are used in wind turbine generators for increasing their efficiency. Rare earth magnets, such as Neodymium Ferrite Boron (NdFeB), are being predominantly used in wind turbines owing to benefits, such as increased reliability and reduction in maintenance costs. The demand for rare earth magnets in the U.S. is expected to grow at a higher rate than its ferrite counterpart over the forecast period owing to its wide usage in high-end applications like robotics, wearable devices, electric vehicles, and wind power.” (1)

Investors looking for exposure to permanent magnets might consider correlated EV or alternative energy stocks. Here are a few purer plays on international markets.

Neo Performance Materials Inc. (Ticker: NEO.TO): Neo Performance Materials is a global leader in the production and application of rare earth and rare metal-based functional materials. They offer a range of products, including permanent magnets used in various industries, including renewable energy.

Lynas Rare Earths Ltd. (Ticker: LYC.AX): Lynas is an Australian-based rare earth mining and processing company. They focus on the production of rare earth elements, including those used in the manufacturing of permanent magnets.

Rich Meyers

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