Regal Beloit Corporation announced that its Marathon Motors division has been awarded a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant for research and development aimed at increasing energy efficiency in electric motors.    

The DOE announced a total of $25 million in grants to enable innovative electrical motors used in manufacturing, of which Marathon Motors received $1 million to develop a rare-earth element-free motor.

“The Marathon Motors team will direct its research toward developing a motor that uses soft magnetic composites and grain-oriented electrical steel in a state-of-the-art, conical air gap motor architecture,” said Paul Knauer, advanced technology manager for Regal Beloit. “The project aims to improve the efficiency of a 5-kilowatt standard industrial motor from 92% to greater than 96%.”

According to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, industrial electric motors account for 70% of the overall electricity usage by U.S. manufacturers and almost 25% of all electricity used nationally. The goal of the grant program is to increase the efficiency of these motors, thereby saving energy and increasing competitiveness for American manufacturers.

“The opportunity to further develop this motor technology came with Regal’s acquisition of NovaTorque’s technology in 2016 and our ability to now leverage that technology,” said Howard Richardson, business leader at Regal Beloit. “We are excited to be a part of this grant, along with the research group of Dr. Hamid Toliyat of Texas A&M, which is assisting in model and testing development.”