Permanent Magnets For Wind Turbines: An Alternative Viewpoint

Permanent Magnets For Wind Turbines: An Alternative Viewpoint

In the Summer 2009 edition of Magnetics Business & Technology, Tony Morcos of ACM Magnetics wrote an excellent article that dissects the growing conventional wisdom that near- and medium-term future growth in wind turbine production, will lead to vast shortages of neodymium-based [Nd-Fe-B] permanent magnets.

Tony points out that permanent magnets are just one option for electrical generators.  Numerous considerations have to be taken into account by the machine designer in his or her bid to maximize efficiency of energy conversion, while minimizing cost.  He points out that any theoretical reduction in supply of permanent magnet materials would be self-limiting, because of the variety of topologies and configurations that can be used with or without permanent magnets.  New designs that don’t use permanent magnets will be developed in parallel to those that do.

Tony then goes on to explain that Nd-Fe-B might not, in fact, be the most cost effective permanent magnet material to use in wind turbines, and his explanation makes a lot of sense – read the article to see which material he suggests as an alternative.

Tony concludes by asserting that all suppliers of the various elements of wind turbines should see increased demand for their products – suppliers of the copper wire for windings and cabling, power electronics vendors and those who provide permanent magnets – but without significantly affecting the ultimate price of these items.

I heartily recommend this article, as it gives a fresh perspective to the whole “magnets for turbines” discussion, and highlights the growing school of thought that permanent magnets are not the “be-all and end-all” for wind turbine generators. It can be found on page 26 of the Summer 2009 edition of the magazine.


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- who has written 67 posts on Terra Magnetica.

Gareth is a Founding Principal at Technology Metals Research, LLC. He has expertise in a variety of magnetic materials, devices and applications, and their associated trends and challenges, particularly for renewable energy production. For more information check out his biography page. Don't forget to check out Terra Magnetica at Twitter too.

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10 Responses to “Permanent Magnets For Wind Turbines: An Alternative Viewpoint”

  1. Tony Morcos Says:

    Thanks for the encouraging words. Please note the correct spelling of my name — Tony Morcos. My company’s name is ACM Magnetics.

  2. Gareth Hatch Says:

    Hi Tony – apologies for the poor spelling – now corrected!

  3. ANDRIETTE Says:





  4. ANDRIETTE Says:


  5. Gareth Hatch Says:

    Hello Andriette,

    It is a trade magazine called “Magnetics Business and Technology” – their main Web site is at . The last link in the article above will take you to the PDF file of the edition of the magazine that contains Tony’s piece.

  6. Nathan Maxim Says:

    Hi, I was wondering weather you can help me with buying Permanent Magnets that I need in order to build a magnet machine (for a science project of my son), I just bought an ebook detailing how to implement this project and I just can’t find where they sell these Magnets (I need 30 of them) – here is the website for your reference – you can edit and remove this – I just want a reply on this.

  7. micky Says:

    The 5256 MWH is measured at the turbine. It does not measure line loss, which for a wind turbine is considerable due to the wide range of power output which has to be transformed to usable levels.


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