A world-class Cardiff University research centre to develop magnetic materials that can drive future energy, power and transport systems will be backed by over £1m of EU funds, the Welsh Government has announced.
Magnetic Materials and Applications (MAGMA) aims to become a hub of expertise in the processing, characterisation, manufacturing and recycling of specialist magnetic materials.
The single most important material underpinning the green economy, magnetic alloys are the active material in electric motors, transformers, generators, sensors, data storage and many other electronic components.
The EU funds will be matched by £1m from the University and private sector to develop the £2.1m hub.
Counsel General and Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles, who overseas EU funding in Wales, said: “I’m delighted to announce this funding, which will strengthen Cardiff University’s research and development into new, environmentally friendly energy, power and transport systems.
“EU funds have driven progress in R&D. infrastructure and skills in Wales, and this is another example of EU funding enabling Wales to lead the transition towards a greener, low-carbon economy.”
The Magnetics Group in the School of Engineering was established in Cardiff in 1969. It has built a worldwide reputation, particularly for its expertise in electrical steels.
The MAGMA investment will build on the Group’s expertise by investing in state-of-the-art facilities and academic insight. The aim is to establish MAGMA as the European centre of excellence for magnetic materials within five to seven years.
Professor Rudolf Allemann, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, said: “MAGMA’s research plays a crucial role in driving next generation technologies for a greener, cleaner planet. The necessary shift from fossil fuels towards a sustainable society with associated substantial reductions in emissions will not happen without continued development of key materials.”
MAGMA will be led by a highly respected academic team: Dr Phil Anderson, Dr Jeremy Hall and Professor Sam Evans from the School of Engineering, together with Professor Phil Davies from the School of Chemistry.
More than 99% of all electrical energy is generated using electrical machines constructed from magnetic materials and in almost all cases electricity passes through at least two transformers before it reaches the user.
The EU funding will allow two new academic appointments to be openly recruited - drawing from external talent pools with established track records of excellence - plus two industrially seconded research staff with existing expertise.
The Group’s core areas of research include modelling and electromagnetic design, electrical machine manufacturing, fundamental magnetic material properties, material process technology development and magnetic separation and grading for recycling.