Clean Earth Magnet, product of Niron Magnetics, named a TIME magazine best invention of 2023

Clean Earth Magnet, a rare-earth free magnet developed by Niron Magnetics, a local startup company based on the research of Robert F. Hartmann Professor Jian-Ping Wang was named one of TIME magazine’s best inventions of 2023.

Niron Magnetics using a proprietary manufacturing process has developed Clean Earth Magnet materials that “possess inherently higher magnetization and can be produced at a lower cost.” Currently, the rare-earth materials magnets used for high-performance applications are the product of labor-intensive and environmentally damaging extraction and manufacturing processes. Besides, raw material costs are unstable and susceptible to fluctuations in the geopolitical landscape. Niron uses commonly found materials (iron and nitrogen) that can also be sourced sustainably, and combined with its manufacturing process, an outcome of nanomaterial engineering, it will produce low cost high performance magnets. 

Niron Magnetics recently raised $33 million in funding with new investments from automotive manufacturers, GM Ventures and Stellantis Ventures, and local investors Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) and the University of Minnesota (UMN). The company had previously secured funding from Volvo Cars Tech Fund, bringing the number of backers who are automotive manufacturers to three. 

The company was also awarded $17.5 million by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to support the scaling up of its sustainable permanent magnets prototypes. The grant is part of the DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) Seeding Critical Advances for Leading Energy technologies with Untapped Potential (SCALEUP) program.  

More details in CSE's coverage of the news

Niron Magnetics was founded in 2014 and stems from the research of Distinguished McKnight University Professor and the Robert F. Hartmann Chair ​​​​Jian-Ping Wang. He and his team developed the world’s first iron nitride. Wang holds 65 patents and was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors in 2022. He currently serves as Niron’s Chief Scientific Officer. Wang is also the founder of three other companies.