Projected Growth Rates for NdFeB Permanent Magnets: Nd plus Dy Demands Across End Use Sectors Through 2050

J.W. Heim II, R.L. Vander Wal
Penn State University,
United States

Keywords: rare earth elements, permanent magnets, electric vehicles, wind turbines, NdFeB


Rare earth element (REE) permanent magnets (NdFeB) are a critical element in a vast and growing number of industrial applications. In consumer electronics, a broad category encompassing computer, CD, and DVD hard drives in addition to the ubiquitous cell phones, the nominal NdFeB magnet content may be small, but the global market share for this sector accounts for 29% of NdFeB demand, due to a large and continually increasing consumer base. Wind turbines employ either gear-box or direct drives and are sited on- or off-shore; the off-shore turbines preferentially use permanent magnets. The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) estimates that roughly 110 GW of on-shore and off-shore capability will be added annually between 2022 and 2026, where the total off-shore through that time period is expected to be over 90 GW. Electric vehicles (EVs) and E-bicycles (EBs) equipped with permanent magnet motors comprise the transportation contribution. Permanent magnet motors have gained nearly 100% of the market share among EV manufacturers worldwide. Industrial, professional service and personal robots, most using permanent magnets, are also included in the projected global need for rare earths, particularly Nd and Dy. The International Robotics Federation (IFR) projects significant growth across robotic categories, with the industrial and service compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) at 10% and that for consumer robots at 12%. In this paper, we calculate the future demand for Nd and Dy through 2050 across these sectors using a compounded annual growth rate coupled with magnet weight and rare earth content. Uncertainties in the estimates, such as true global production of Nd, a range of end-product scales and/or unit types in each sector, varied magnet compositions and the variety of uses within a sector, are all considered.