Technology Development Board Sanctions Funding for Midwest Advanced Materials to Boost Domestic Production of Sustainable Magnet

With an aim to enhancing the domestic production of essential materials and technologies, the Technology Development Board (TDB) under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has sanctioned funding for Midwest Advanced Materials Private Limited (MAM), Hyderabad. The announcement was made on Thursday at the TDB Centre in New Delhi.

The strategic project focuses on advancing the commercial manufacturing of Neodymium materials and Rare Earth Permanent Magnets, crucial components for e-mobility applications. This initiative aligns with national priorities, aiming to establish an integrated production module for Rare Earth (RE) magnets, beginning with oxides. The project utilizes a modified Metal Extraction method through Molten Salt Electrolysis (MSE) technology, which incorporates an environmentally sustainable electrolysis process with proprietary cell designs, representing a critical stride towards sustainable technological advancement.

Neodymium (NdFeB) permanent magnets, vital for propulsion systems in electric vehicles and generators in renewable energy infrastructure, are expected to witness substantial market growth. This underscores the significance of developing indigenous production capabilities. The project aligns with global efforts to mitigate climate change and promote renewable energy sources, including solar and wind power.

The transfer of advanced technology from The Nonferrous Materials Technology Development Centre (NFTDC), an esteemed R&D institution under the Ministry of Mines, Government of India, to Midwest Advanced Materials has paved the way for the commercial production of Neodymium materials and Rare Earth Permanent Magnets. NFTDC’s expertise in advanced materials and process development, combined with MAM’s strengths in mining, powder metallurgy, e-mobility, and project financing, forms the foundation of this Technology Readiness Level (TRL-9) demonstration plant. The initial production target is set at 500 tons per year (TPY) of magnets, with plans to scale up to 5000 TPA by 2030, marking a transformative step towards self-reliance in critical technological domains.

Dr. K. Bala Subramanian, the Director of NFTDC, emphasized the project’s trailblazing significance for India. He projected an annual production of 500 tons of magnets from 150–170 tons of oxide, marking a major milestone for the country. This scientific breakthrough, spanning the entire range from motors and finished magnets to rare earth oxide, is anticipated to significantly impact various high-tech industries, including smartphones, wind turbines, medical imaging devices, and electronic mobility. Five specialized pieces of equipment have been meticulously designed for optimal operational effectiveness and efficiency.

The project benefits from reduced capital investment (CapEx) due to local plant and machinery design. With India Rare Earth Engineers Limited (IREL) supplying the raw materials, the project is expected to be more financially viable in terms of operating expenses. MAM aims to achieve a production target of 5,000 TPA by 2030, enhancing the project’s long-term profitability and value proposition. NFTDC will continue to support MAM’s efforts in rare earths and other vital materials as a knowledge and technological partner.

Rajesh Kumar Pathak, Secretary, TDB, highlighted the importance of this initiative, which marks a significant advancement in India’s capability to domestically manufacture high-performance magnets. This project addresses national imperatives and contributes to the global shift towards sustainable technologies in critical materials for e-mobility and clean energy.

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