Okay, okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating just a little… but if the news from Japan today is anything to go by, perhaps we’re not far off.
According to a report at TradingMarket.com, Japan’s Daikin Industries has teamed up with Professor Shigeo Morimoto from Osaka Prefecture University, to create an electric motor that produced high torque from hard ferrite magnets.
The new design relies on a new way of interfacing “the rotating component and the magnet, as well as between the fixed component and the conductive wire. Both sides are given uneven surfaces, so there is a greater surface area where they meet. This increases the repulsive force created when a current is run through the wire. The uneven surface also enables portions of the two sides to be brought closer together”.
Apparently the prototype of this motor generates 30% more torque than a “conventionally design motor”. Key to this is no doubt the tiny air gap of just 0.012 inches [0.3mm], which will no doubt present a challenge when scaling things up.
This development re-inforces the comments made earlier this year by Tony Morcos on the subject of alternatives to rare earth permanent magnets for generators.
I’ll post more on this as I find additional details; in the mean time, you can find the report here.