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Ames Laboratory scientists receive DOE award to help commercialize promising technology


U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Ames Laboratory senior metallurgist Iver Anderson and postdoctoral research associate Emma White have been awarded a $325,000 grant from the DOE's Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF).

Anderson's and White's grant is for their project, Manufacturing of Alnico (iron-aluminum-nickel-cobalt) Magnets for Energy Efficient Traction-Drive Motors.

"Both Emma and I are very excited to have received this award to further our alnico magnet research," said Anderson. "We're thankful to the DOE for recognizing our project's potential to help industry."

Anderson and White's project involves testing the performance of at least one set of full-scale powder processed Alnico (non-rare earth) magnets in a complete energy-efficient advanced drive motor to verify they can reach the energy density and mechanical properties targets of the motor designers. The project also involves three significant targeted improvements over typical rare-earth magnets in existing drive motors. These include lower materials cost, decreased cooling needs and lower magnet-processing costs.

White says she and Anderson will work toward reproducible production of dozens (approximately 84) of full-scale enhanced alnico magnets made via Ames Laboratory's novel powder-processing approach. They will test and verify that alnico magnets can provide a suitable performance level against targets that have been set for 2022 by DOE for advanced motor designs, and link together a likely industrial supply chain for the magnets.

In addition to funding from TCF, partners in the project include Carpenter Powder Products, Arnold Magnetic Technologies Corporation, UQM Technology Inc., Ford Motor Company, Iowa Energy Center, Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory. These partners will match the $325,000 from DOE, bringing the total two-year project budget to $650,000.

"We strongly believe that with the industrial partners on our team, we can accelerate the trials and introduction of our new DOE-developed technology to make real progress on alnico magnets and rare-earth free next-generation traction drive motors ," said White.

TCF is administered by DOE's Office of Technology Transitions (OTT), which works to expand the commercial impact of DOE's portfolio of research, development, demonstration and deployment activities.

"The great work at the national labs and across DOE's program make the Department one of the largest supporters of technology transfer within the federal government" said Jetta Wong, director of OTT.

"These TCF selections will further strengthen those efforts across a broad spectrum of energy technologies and advance DOE's important mission to transition technologies to the market."

The first round of requests for funding through the TCF program was announced in February 2016. Scientists responded with 104 applications. Fifty-four projects were selected at 12 DOE national laboratories.

"My office is extremely pleased DOE is providing these new funding opportunities to further develop technologies," said Debra Covey, Ames Laboratory associate lab director and director of Sponsored Research Administration. "The TCF is giving us and our partners the opportunity to further develop and deploy transformative research into products. This work, not only helps to further magnet research at Ames Laboratory, but provides a pathway to get technologies adopted by industry and into U.S. products."


A complete list of TCF selections can be found at:

The Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. The Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.

Ames Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit

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