University-born startup’s Clean Earth Magnet named a TIME magazine best invention of 2023

Niron Magnetics also announced a new partnership with General Motors 

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (12/07/2023)—A more sustainable magnet developed by Niron Magnetics, a startup company born out of University of Minnesota Twin Cities Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Jian-Ping Wang’s research, was recently named as one of TIME magazine’s best inventions of 2023.

Niron Magnetics’ Clean Earth Magnet is the world’s first high-powered, rare earth-free permanent magnet made from abundant iron and nitrogen materials, eliminating the need for rare-earth mining. These magnets can be used in electric vehicle motors, as well as used to power consumer electronics, industrial motors, and wind turbines.

The company’s magnets have a 75 percent lower overall environmental impact compared to rare-earth based magnets and will provide a less expensive, more sustainable way for the United States to achieve its goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Clean Earth Magnet on green background
Niron Magnetic's manufacturing process combines breakthroughs in nanomaterial engineering with well understood, mature metallurgical methods to deliver he world’s first high strength, rare-earth-free permanent magnet at less than half the cost of alternatives. Image credit: Niron Magnetics

Niron Magnetics recently announced a new strategic partnership with General Motors, which hopes to use the company’s Clean Earth Magnet to improve the energy efficiency of GM electric vehicle motors. 

Volvo had already previously partnered with the company and in 2022, The U.S. Department of Energy awarded Niron a $17.5 million grant to scale up prototyping of its sustainable permanent magnets. 

Professor Wang founded Niron Magnetics in 2014 after he and his University of Minnesota research group developed the world’s first iron nitride magnet. Now, he serves as the company’s chief scientific officer. Wang, who holds 65 patents, was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors in 2022 and has founded three companies including Niron.

Read more about TIME magazine’s “The Best Inventions of 2023.”

Learn more about Professor Jian-Ping Wang’s research

Learn more about Niron Magnetics.