Brexit Britain wins as Boris disrupts Chinese ties and ousts EU with bold new energy move | Science | The news

There are plans to resume domestic production of supercharged magnets used in electric vehicles and wind turbines with government support, insiders claimed. A government-funded feasibility study is set to be released on Friday, outlining the steps the UK needs to take to resume production of rare earth permanent magnets, the sources said.

A magnet factory would help Britain by arranging for the UN COP26 on climate negotiation in Glasgow to meet its goal of banning petrol and diesel by 2030 and reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

British production of the magnets disappeared in the 1990s when industry found it could not compete with China.

However, the ongoing energy crisis means the Government is keen to secure its own supply, with the potential to export the very high-end material.

Last month, the Government laid out plans to achieve its net-zero strategy, which includes spending £ 850 million to support the launch of electric vehicles and their supply chains.

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The study outlines how a plant could be built by 2024 and eventually produce enough of the power magnets to supply 1 million electric vehicles a year.

One source said: “We are looking to turn the tide of shipping this kind of manufacturing to the Far East and revive UK production excellence.”

The Government’s Department of Commerce declined to comment on details of a possible magnet factory because the report was not released.

“The Government continues to work with investors through our Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) to advance plans to build a globally competitive electric vehicle supply chain in the UK,” a spokesman said in an email.

British rare earth company Less Common Metals has put together the feasible study and is considering looking for partners to build the factory together, the sources said.

LCM is one of the only companies outside China that transforms rare earth raw materials into the special compounds needed to produce permanent magnets.

Automakers will need the magnets as they increase EV production in the UK – Ford said last month it would invest up to £ 230 million in an English factory to produce around 250,000 EV powerhouses a year by mid-2024.

A current global shortage of semiconductors means that the production of British-made super-magnets would be a welcome addition to car manufacturing and distribution in the future.

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Rare magnets made of neodymium are used in 90% of EV motors because they are widely seen as the most efficient way to power them.

Electric cars with these magnets require less battery power than those with ordinary magnets, so vehicles can travel longer distances before recharging.

A race by automakers to expand EVs and countries to switch to wind power is set to boost demand for permanent magnets in Europe by ten times by 2050, according to the European Union.

Sources said government support would be essential for Britain to be able to compete with China, which produces 90 per cent of the world’s supply.

The strategy mirrors similar efforts by the EU and the US to create domestic industries of raw materials, rare earth processing and permanent magnets.

Both the EU and the US have recently seen huge government funding into such elements.

Figures in the United States pledge more than $ 50 billion as part of the post-COVID recovery fund.

The EU tried to imitate the American figures, but only 10 EU nations got involved in the project, possibly undermining the adventure project.

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