Boron Magnets are the Future for Wind Turbines

Sep 18, 2021 | ADVANCED ENERGY


Permanent magnets are electric powertrains that the wind turbine uses to generate electricity. Wind turbines use permanent magnets because they provide a more constant electric current than other electric powertrains. This makes them ideal for generating electric energy in windy environments. Here there can be large fluctuations in voltage and frequency of the electrical grid.

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What are permanent magnets?

Permanent magnets work by producing magnetic fields from coils of wire when electric currents pass through these wires. This creates strong electromagnetic properties. So it is possible to move heavy objects using an electromagnet even after the electric current has been turned off.

The main advantage of permanent magnets is that they are more efficient than electromagnets. Meaning that wind turbines with a strong magnetic field can produce better results. They are used in many different scenarios where electric powertrains would not operate as efficiently or effectively.

Permanent magnets also can release electric charges. It means their core materials are easily cooled and noiseless. This reduces the risk of burning out an electrical motor during operation. Lastly, permanent magnets work best when there’s always at least some degree of motion present. Electromagnetic forces weaken over time without movement. So it will take longer for them to lose energy due to friction compared to other electric powertrain types.

Role of permanent magnets for wind turbines

Permanent magnet-based electric motors have electromagnetic forces that do not deteriorate like electromagnets. They also can release electric charges which means that their core material is more easily cooled. These motors increase in efficiency as wind turbines distribute torque evenly throughout each blade. It is mainly because they require fewer blades than traditional wind turbine designs.

Permanent magnets allow designers greater freedom to change the electric motor’s shape and size. This is to optimize its design for a specific application.

Permanent magnets are made from rare earth metals which makes them expensive. However, they can last up to three times longer than other electric powertrain types due to their ability to resist heat much more efficiently. This reduces noise pollution significantly. It is due to less need for cooling systems that often come with heavy mechanical parts.

Electromagnets use wires or coils of wire wrapped around electromagnets as core materials. These will eventually deteriorate over time even without movement, so electric motors are designed with copper windings. And on top of this, they work together with an electromagnetic field by current flowing through the coils.

Benefits of permanent magnets for wind turbines

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Permanent magnets reduce electric powertrain costs by eliminating copper windings. This also reduces weight which is a significant factor in heavy-duty electric motors.

They can resist heat much more efficiently than electromagnets. And thus require fewer cooling systems for noise pollution control, such as fans or water-cooled coils.

The use of permanent magnets makes electric motors last up to three times longer. It is because they do not have any moving parts that need maintenance like coils that will eventually deteriorate over time. Mainly even without movement, there is no need for replacement components.

They are also able to withstand a lot more electric current and shock than electromagnets, so they can be used in powertrains that generate huge currents like electric ships or high-voltage electric transmission systems with no risk of heat damage.

Permanent magnets have a much higher energy density than electric coils. They can withstand more electric current. So they are used in powertrains that generate huge currents like electric ships or high-voltage electric transmission systems with no risk of heat damage. 

Challenges using permanent magnets for Wind Turbines

The electric wind turbines on the market today use electric magnets. These electric magnets have a limited lifespan and need periodic replacement, which is expensive.

Permanent magnets are not resistant to extreme temperatures. They are like electric motors that require cooling systems for their electromagnets.

They also cost more than electromagnetic wind turbine generators. 

Potential Solutions

Some manufacturers (such as Siemens) are experimenting with electric powertrains that use both permanent magnets and electric motors. The electric motor handles high-speed, low torque operations such as starting the turbine. Here the permanent magnet is in charge of producing more consistent energy output for a longer period at slower rotation speeds. It is when there are no sudden changes in wind direction or violent gusts to contend with.

A Norwegian company, Statkraft uses innovative technology, “magnetic bearing“. It enables turbines to be positioned much closer together without interference from one another. This leaves more space available for other electric generators like solar panels or hydroelectric dams within cities and townships. Here they can produce electricity effectively without interfering with other services such as telecommunications, radio, and TV.

Permanent Magnets are more efficient

Permanent magnets are more efficient than electric coils. Especially in producing power from wind turbines for several reasons, including:

Electric coils require powerful electric currents that create resistance and are expensive. Permanent steel magnets generate no current at all. They produce much greater torque when they come into contact with moving air or liquid. These steel magnets do not magnetize them as most electric motors do. So there is very little friction. This saves energy by reducing the amount wasted due to electrical inefficiencies. Also, it is cheaper on maintenance costs because it does not need regular replacement parts like brushes, bearings, etc.

Electric coil generators only work at high speeds. It can lead to sudden changes in output if wind velocity slows down significantly. Whereas permanent magnets can work at variable speeds.

The electric coils also require expensive copper wiring. But magnetic fields create their electrical circuits by inducing a voltage across themselves. This makes for less costly maintenance costs since replacement parts aren’t necessary every few years. It is enough once in every 20–30 years or longer depending on usage.

Role of Boron in Permanent Magnets

The role of Boron in permanent magnets for wind turbines is to improve the performance and reliability of these valuable components. Wind turbine generators require a strong magnet with uniform magnetic properties. The use of boron as an alloying agent can produce better-quality magnets. They are more resistant to corrosion and heat and create stronger magnetic fields. In addition, when boron is heated it creates a protective oxide layer on the surface of the metal which helps protect against corrosion. 

Boron – permanent magnets


The increased demand for renewable energy sources has resulted in an increase in wind turbine installations throughout the world. As such, there is an ongoing need for research into new technologies that will make them more efficient and reliable. It also reduces their cost-of-ownership over time. However, wind turbines are electric powertrains, which means they require electric motors. The use of permanent magnets in electric motors is one way to reduce the cost-of-ownership over time. It is because these types of materials have a much longer life than traditional electric motor parts like copper wire and coils. 

In comparison with current technology, permanent magnets can create stronger magnetic fields. It helps to make electric motors more efficient at converting electricity into motion. Permanent magnets for wind turbines are efficient in comparison to the other options. 

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