By on March 3, 2011

Take that, China. Japanese ingenuity has devised a way around the rare earth stranglehold the wicked Chinese use to stall worldwide progress of electric vehicles. A team of researchers from Japan’s Toda Kogyo and Tohoku University succeeded in making a magnetic material without rare-earth metals, The Nikkei [sub] says.

The magnetic material is made from readily available iron and nitrogen. It can literally be made out of thin air. 78 percent of which consists of Nitrogen, we learned at school and in SCUBA diving class. The goal is now to commercialize the compound by 2023 with the help from Toyota and Honda.

It gets even better, magnets made of this compound will be “60 percent more powerful than existing magnets,” says professor Migaku Takahashi of Tohoku University. Smaller magnets, smaller, or more powerful EV motors.

So everybody: Be nice to China until 2023, then let them suck wind.

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4 Comments on “Japanese Scientists Pull Magnets Out Of Thin Air...”


  • avatar
    toxicroach

    It’s this kind of cool stuff that embarrasses the Malthusians every time.

    Peak oil?  Shale oil.
    Peak rare earth elements?  Suck on some nitrogen.

  • avatar
    mwilbert

    This sounds like a great development, but sensible people were not worried about “peak rare earth elements” anytime soon–just a temporary shortage because of Chinese policies.  Rare earth elements aren’t that rare, and they are recyclable.
    Shale oil isn’t going to prevent peak oil.  Not being a Malthusian, I don’t think that will be the end of the world, but if it were, we’d be in serious trouble.

  • avatar

    I am sceptical about stronger permanent magnets based on nitrogen. Sounds like cold fusion type of deal to me.
    Now, the better powered magnets sounds like a good deal to me and may actually create motors with acceptable power density.

  • avatar
    keyman

    As an engineer, I too am skeptical of it. Probably a calculated Japanese disinformation ploy to gey get the Chinese to ease up on their rare earth export quota which is totally a party pooper.

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