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Niron Magnetics Partners with Marquette University and General Motors to Develop Drivetrains for Electric Vehicles using Rare-Earth Free Materials

Niron Magnetics, the company that has developed the world’s first advanced manufacturing process for the mass production of high performance, rare-earth free permanent magnets, announced a partnership with Marquette University and General Motors to develop the next generation of electric vehicle drivetrains through a $5 million grant from the Department of Energy.


Demand for electric and hybrid vehicles continues to grow and new forecasts predict that they will account for an estimated 30% of all vehicle sales by 2025. However, the drivetrains traditionally utilized in EV and HV designs are powered by rare-earth materials, which are predicted to experience a shortage by 2030, hindering long-term growth potential.


Dr. Ayman El-Refaie, Werner Endowed Chair in Secure/Sustainable Energy and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Marquette University will serve as the lead on the three-year DOE Vehicle Technologies Office project that seeks to meet and even exceed the DOE targets around metrics such as max torque, power, speed current and bus voltage as demand for electric vehicles continues to grow, without the use of rare earths.


“We are very excited about teaming with Niron Magnetics on this project and see their Iron Nitride permanent magnets as a key enabling technology to achieve our project objectives,” said Dr. El-Refaie. “Beyond this project, Niron’s technology will help achieve higher performance in electrical machines over a broad range of applications. We are very much looking forward to working with their team.”


The proposed design incorporates high performance Iron Nitride (FeN) magnets that the team at Niron will be developing. Niron’s Clean Earth Magnet technology does not utilize any rare earth elements and offers several major advantages over traditional magnets, including higher magnetic field strength, enhanced temperature stability, and lower cost input materials and manufacturing. Niron’s magnets have a higher magnetic flux density than conventional Ferrite and NdFeB-based magnets, enabling size and weight reduction in motors without compromising power or torque, which will be critical to meet DOE targets around cost and efficiency.


“This collaboration, along with the other vehicle technology innovation projects funded by the DOE will help shape the future of the transportation sector and increase access to more sustainable options for consumers,” said Frank Johnson, Ph.D., CTO, Niron. “Professor El-Refaie and his team understand the potential our technology has to unlock new possibilities in power generation without the use of rare earths, ensuring that electrics motors of the future are not only more cost effective, but sustainable.”


The project is funded by the Vehicle Technologies Office of the Department of Energy. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University are also partnering on the project. To learn more about the $139 million in federal funding from the DOE to advance innovative vehicle technologies, and the other related projects, please visit the Department of Energy’s website.


To learn more about Niron Magnetics and its Clean Earth MagnetT technology, please visit


About Niron Magnetics

Niron Magnetics is developing the world’s first advanced manufacturing process for the mass production of permanent magnets powered by its breakthrough material formulation. Niron’s proprietary Iron nitride magnets possess inherently higher magnetization and can be produced at a lower cost compared to today’s rare-earth magnets and will enable a revolution in the design of new electric motors and generators. For more information, please visit


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