sierra tango: there certainly is something to watch in both Russia and Canada. One recent deal gives some perspective. Stans Energy Corp recently signed a memorandum of intent with the Russian leading research institute of chemical technology VNIIHT "to conduct a review of the rare earth potential of the Russian Federation ...and [for] jointly pursuing potential acquisitions." Long road to actually producing and selling REEs but nonetheless useful to pursue.
Certainly a great development, yet long-term the demand for such materials will grow as will the supply.
It is a safe bet that Northern Canada and Russia have considerable deposits of rare earth elements.
I hope they develop the technology and keep it to themselves. Free trade doesn't mean keeping your kimono open for the world to see.
This will teach companies they need to hire their own reseachers and develope technologies in house.
In line with santana338, has everyone forgotten the reduced cost and broader speed range performance available with switched reluctance motors (SRMs), and the simplicity and low cost associated with induction motors? These are devices that have been around since the 1800's, but with modern electronics can now be controlled and powered efficiently. Of course there are applications where the ability of the permanent magnet synchronous motor (commonly referred to as brushless DC or BLDC, and needing good permanent magnets for efficiency) to generate electricity without an external power source can be useful. But knowing when and what to use is our job as engineers...
Of course they can, Motors were built before RE magnets were developed and even without PMs, but RE magnets have much greater energy product than the best AlNiCos so unless minimum size and weight is no object, old fashioned motors are fine. P. Studer
Why is this a big deal? Tesla's motors don't use rare earth magnets. Seems like Japan Inc is just catching up to Silicon Valley.
Some motors use permanent magnets, but not the Roadster motor -- the magnetic field is created completely from electricity.
This is the kind of news that gives creative engineers well deserved recognition. In addition to governments and industry moving ahead on improving access to limited raw materials - a technical solution is developed that reduces the needs for such ingredients. Well done!