Photo: GreenSpur

New rare earth-free generator solution for offshore wind


United Kingdom – GreenSpur Wind and Niron Magnetics have collaborated to create a new, lighter, and more efficient rare earth-free permanent magnet generator solution for the offshore wind market.

The results have been confirmed by ORE Catapult, the top innovation and research hub for offshore renewable energy in the UK.

The Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition (OREAC) projects that by 2050, offshore wind will have grown to 1,400 GW and will play a significant role in the transition to net-zero emissions. Rapid advancement has been hampered by the industry’s reliance on pricey, scarce rare earth magnets, which were once thought to be essential parts of wind turbine generators.

Strong performance

The GreenSpur generator had garnered interest in earlier iterations, but there were issues with its mass. It’s crucial to keep the generator mass within the same range as that of the existing machines because adding weight necessitates more structural support, which raises the cost. GreenSpur created a new 15MW generator using Niron’s Generation Clean Earth Magnet, which provides significantly stronger magnetic performance than the ferrites used in its earlier generator designs. Based on preliminary non-optimized results, the new generator offers a notable mass reduction of 56%.

The new 15MW generator design was evaluated by ORE Catapult, the UK’s top technology innovation and research center for offshore renewable energy, with funding from an Innovate UK grant. The review found that GreenSpur’s 15MW generator design now meets the market’s demands for mass and efficiency. The consortium is being formed as we speak.