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Dr. Francis Johnson

Niron Magnetics


Dr. Johnson has over 25 years of experience developing magnetic materials for use
in power generation, distribution, and conversion technologies. Since 2018, he has led work
globally on Iron Nitride permanent magnets as the CEO of Niron Magnetics, joining after
thirteen years at General Electric where he led magnetic materials R&D. He has experience
leading global, multidisciplinary teams and is recognized as one of North America’s foremost
magnetic materials experts. Dr. Johnson holds a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering
from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Developing the North American permanent magnet supply chain for energy technologies:
Industry and government perspectives

This panel discussion will focus on both government and industry efforts to develop a robust North American supply chain of permanent magnets to support the energy sector industrial base (ESIB). Rare earth magnets, such as sintered neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets, are especially important to the ESIB as they are critical components of traction motors in electric vehicles and direct drive generators in offshore wind turbines. Yet, nearly all supply chain stages of sintered NeFeB magnets are concentrated in China, posing a potential vulnerability for ESIB supply chains required to meet climate goals.

Moderator: Braeton J. Smith, Argonne National Laboratory

Helena Khazdozian, Advanced Manufacturing & Materials Technology Office, U.S. Department of Energy
Salim Bhabhrawala, Critical Materials Program Manager, Office of Manufacturing & Energy Supply Chains, U.S. Department of Energy
Alan Lund, MP Materials
Frank Johnson, Chief Technology Officer, Niron Magnetics

Iron Nitride – The First New Permanent Magnet in 30 years

ron Nitride permanent magnets have been recognized as a potential breakthrough for the industry. Based on the α”-Fe16N2 compound with high saturation magnetization (exceeding that of NdFeB) and a moderate magnetocrystalline anisotropy, the material pairs technical benefits – attractive magnetic performance and superior temperature stability to NdFeB – with the strategic benefit of being completely rare earth-free, relying instead on abundant commodity raw materials. Iron Nitride will act as an economical substitute for several grades of both sintered and bonded NdFeB magnets. Further, they offer significant advantages in terms of environmental footprint and recyclability.

Niron will address the background of the material, selections of the latest empirical data, implications for device design, and details on the process being taken with industry players to commercialize the first new permanent magnet in over 30 years.

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