Forbes Magazine recently highlighted the efforts of UMN startup Niron Magnetics to scale up production of permanent magnets that use iron nitride. Niron’s magnets could eliminate reliance on magnets made from rare earth materials, which are in limited supply and currently mostly sourced from China. As global demand for permanent magnets is expected to increase, Niron Magnetics is poised to provide a solution to the rare-earth crisis.
To date, Niron has raised more than $100 million in funding with plans to build a full-scale production facility. As part of the company’s efforts to scale up, Niron is working with a handful of partners to further test and develop its magnets. Current magnets work for certain applications, such as speakers, but it could take another 18 months to increase performance to the necessary level for use in larger motors and generators.
Niron’s technology is based on research conducted by Distinguished McKnight University Professor Jian-Ping Wang at the College of Science and Engineering.