DOE Awards $25M For Electric Motor Technologies

Nov. 28, 2016
The U.S. Department of Energy announces nearly $25 million to enable innovative electrical motors used in manufacturing.

The U.S. Department of Energy announces nearly $25 million for 13 projects aimed at advancing energy-efficient electric motor technologies through applied research and development. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Next Generation Electric Machines projects will address the limitations of traditional materials and designs used in electric motor components by cost-effectively enhancing their efficiency, improving their performance and reducing weight. This effort will support approaches to improve the technology in industrial electric motors, which use approximately 70% of the electricity consumed by U.S. manufacturers and nearly a quarter of all electricity consumed nationally, according to EERE.

Improvements to these systems can be achieved by using technologies such as wide bandgap semiconductor devices, advanced magnetic materials, aggressive cooling techniques and improved conductors or superconducting materials, according to EERE. In addition, these projects will leverage recent technical advances made in nanomaterials research, new highly siliconized steel manufacturing processes and improved performance of high temperature superconductors—all representing potentially economical solutions for next generation electric machines.

Each of the 13 projects have been selected to address one of four topic areas identified by EERE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office:

  • Manufacturing of high performance thermal and electrical conductors
  • Manufacturing of low-loss silicon steel
  • High temperature superconducting wire manufacturing
  • Manufacturing of other enabling technologies to increase performance

In addition, these technologies will improve motors used in the growing clean energy sector, helping wind, solar, electric vehicle and battery manufacturers. The projects also encourage research, development and deployment of advanced magnets, high frequency insulation materials and lead-free, low-loss bearing technologies that are critical for high speed electric motors.

The 13 projects selected for awards are led by:

  • AK Steel Corporation Research & Innovation
  • American Superconductor Corporation
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Florida State University
  • General Electric Company, GE Global Research
  • NovaTorque, Inc.
  • Purdue University
  • Rice University
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Superconductor Technologies Incorporated
  • SurfTec, LLC
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Houston

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