Use the Force for Good: Sustainability Through Magnetic Levitation.
Electric motors pump our water, heat and cool our homes and offices, drive critical medical and surgical equipment, and, increasingly, operate our transportation systems. Approximately 99% of the world’s electric energy is produced by a rotating generator and 45% of that energy is consumed by an electric motor. The efficiency of this technology is vital in enabling our energy sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint. The reliability and lifetime of this technology have severe, and sometimes life-altering, consequences. Today’s motor technology largely relies upon mechanical bearings to support the motor’s shaft. These bearings are the first components to fail, create frictional losses, and rely on lubricants that create contamination challenges and require periodic maintenance. In short, bearings are the Achilles’ heel of modern electric motors.
This seminar will explore the use of actively controlled magnetic forces to levitate the motor shaft, eliminating mechanical bearings and the problems associated with them. The working principles of traditional magnetic levitation technology (active magnetic bearings) will be reviewed and used to explain why this technology has not been successfully applied to the most high-impact motor applications. Research into “bearingless” motors offers a new levitation approach by manipulating the inherent magnetic force capability of all electric motors. While traditional motors are carefully designed to prevent shaft forces, the bearingless motor concept controls these forces to make the motor simultaneously function as an active magnetic bearing. The seminar will showcase the potential of bearingless technology to revolutionize motor systems of critical importance for energy and sustainability—from industrial compressors and blowers, such as those found in HVAC systems and wastewater aeration equipment, to power grid flywheel energy storage devices and electric turbochargers in fuel-efficient vehicles.Read the full article at: https://merl.com/news/talk-20211207-1391