Gallery: GE Developing New Magnets that Could Reduce Demand for Rare Ea...

 

Energy efficient technologies like wind turbines and electric car engines are much greener choices than their traditional counterparts, but the powerful magnets essential to their operation require rare earth metals that are diminishing in supply. While countries in North America, Australia, and South East Asia hurry to bring more rare earth mines into operations — a process that can take years — General Electric scientists have created a new breed of nanocomposite magnets that would require less rare earths to achieve the same high magnetism as magnets currently on the market.

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2 Comments

  1. codesmith January 24, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Lithium is not a “rare earth metal”. Neodymium is. Lithium is the 25th most abundant mineral on earth, and is used widely in metal alloys, lubricants, and batteries. Neodymium is used to make permanent magnets among other things, NOT batteries. Lithium and Neodymium are both far more abundant than Lead, but are more difficult to locate and mine. Lithium can be efficiently extracted from brines. Any technology that can make more efficient use of our scarce resources is a good thing.

  2. lazyreader January 24, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Good, 2 of the most used rare earths metals are lithium and neodymium. Both of which are not in sufficient supply to meet the demands for car batteries when their actually more valuable for laptops. Cheap available substitutes are needed to kick these industries into high gear.

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