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FEM Analysis upon Significance of Different Permanent Magnet Types Used in a Five-Phase PM Generator for Gearless Small-Scale Wind

A.M. Mihai, S. Benelghali, L. Livadaru, Al. Simion, R. Outbib

Abstract The gearless PM generator system has high

potential for the wind turbines because of its robustness, increased energy yield and reliability compared to electrically excited ones. The main disadvantage of PM synchronous generators is the high cost of PMs and the demagnetization risk at high temperature. In this paper is presented a comparative analysis in terms of permanent magnet type chosen for the construction of a five phase synchronous generator without gearbox, intended to be used on a small scale. The comparison is made taking into discussion both economical and electromagnetic criteria for three types of permanent magnets: ferrite and two rare-earth permanent magnets - SmCo and NdFeB. The analysis is performed using Flux 2D simulation software package, which is based on finite element method, FEM. Index Terms--design, five-phase machine, finite element analysis, permanent magnets, renewable energy system, wind turbine generators.

Rf, Rl q Z

resistances used for the measurement of phase and line voltages in [] number of slots per pole and per phase number of stator slots specific mass density in (kg/m3)

I. B Br (BH)max D De Dir D1...D10 f1 g Hc In li L1...L5 m Nc1 n1 p RC R1R5 RS


air gap flux density in [T] remanent flux density in [T] maximum energy in [J/m3] inner diameter of the stator in [mm] outer diameter of the stator in [mm] inner diameter of the rotor in [mm] rectifying diodes in [] frequency in Hz air gap thickness in [mm] coercivity force in [kA/m] rated current in [A] ideal length [mm] Reactance of end winding parts in [mH] number of phases number of effective turns per slot synchronous speed in [rpm] number of pole pairs resistance for the active turns in [] resistance of the end winding in [] load resistance in []

This work was supported with by the POSDRU EURODOC Doctoral scholarship for research performance at European level ID 59410 project funded by the European Social Found and Romanian Government. A.M. Mihai is with the Gheorghe Asachi Technical University of Iasi, Bd. Profesor Dimitrie Mangeron, nr. 21- 23, 700050 Iasi, Romania, (e-mail: S. Benelghali is with the University of Aix-Marseille 3, UMR CNRS 6168 LSIS, Avenue Escadrille Normandie-Niemen, 13397 Marseille Cedex 20, France (email: L. Livadaru is with the Gheorghe Asachi Technical University of Iasi, Bd. Profesor Dimitrie Mangeron, nr. 21- 23, 700050 Iasi, Romania, (e-mail: Al.Simion is with the Gheorghe Asachi Technical University of Iasi, Bd. Profesor Dimitrie Mangeron, nr. 21- 23, 700050 Iasi, Romania, (E-mail: R. Outbib is with the University of Aix-Marseille 3, UMR CNRS 6168 LSIS, Avenue Escadrille Normandie-Niemen, 13397 Marseille Cedex 20, France (email:

II. INTRODUCTION The appearance on the market of some permanent magnets with superior features, prices becoming more affordable, has increased the interest in their use in the construction of electric machines. Various wind turbine concepts with different generator systems have been developed and built to maximize the energy capture, to minimize costs, to improve power quality. The generators used in the market can be classified in two concepts: the Electrically Excited Synchronous Generator (EESG) and the Permanent Magnet Synchronous Generator (PMSG). The direct-drive PM generator system has high potential for the wind turbines because of its reduced failure, increased energy yield and reliability compared to electrically excited (EE) ones. However, the disadvantages of PM generators are essentially the inability to control the field strength, high cost of PM, difficulties to handle in manufacture, demagnetization of PM at high temperature. This paper focuses on the study of gearless small scale wind turbine based on a permanent magnet synchronous generator. Indeed, the gearless PMGS shows superior performance in terms of energy efficiency, reliability and maintenance problems, but it has the disadvantage of large diameters. Many published papers [1]-[6] have shown that using the multi-phase machines that operate with five phases instead of three, with permanent magnet excitation provide significant improvement in performance, and optimized designs to make it suitable for use with diode rectifier circuits which predominate in small and medium scale generation. The use of the five-phase technology presents the advantages of obtaining a high density of power by dividing the necessary power between several phases; thereby a reduction of torque pulsation is obtained [4]-[6]. The objective of this paper is to put in view the performance developed by a five-phase PM generator which is provided with three types of permanent magnets with different properties and costs. The comparative analysis is performed in order to find the most efficient solution in terms of price/performance ratio, which suits to the construction of the five-phase PMSG, for gearless wind turbine. III. TYPES OF PERMANENT MAGNETS USED IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE ELECTRICAL MACHINES The permanent magnets currently used in the construction of electric machines can be divided into three groups, according to chemical composition and material properties,

978-1-4673-0141-1/12/$26.00 2012 IEEE


namely: Alnico permanent magnet type; Ferrite permanent magnets; Rare earth permanent magnets: - Samarium-Cobalt (SmCo); - Neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB); The demagnetization curves for different permanent magnet materials are presented in Fig. 1.

NdFeB SmCo Alnico 0,5

Ferrite H [kA/m] 1000 500 0

Fig. 1. Demagnetization curves for different permanent magnet materials [12]

temperature operation up to 250C. The only drawback of this material is the fragility. Rare earth permanent magnets NdFeB are based on the most recent class of magnetic materials, with high magnetic performance, which is superior to alloys with Samarium. Such magnets have maximum magnetic energies that can exceed 300 kJ/m3, values that are 10 times higher than for ferrites, and about 30% higher than those of SamariumCobalt alloys, remanent flux density of 1,3T, and coercivity between 800 1000kA/m. It should be noted that in the composition of these materials, cobalt is replaced by iron, which not only reduces the price of the final product, but it also eliminates the use of Co which is considered as strategic material. Neodymium is a material five times more prevalent than Samarium, which also contributes to reducing the production cost of these magnets. However, this alloy has a low Curie point (310 C), which limits its use at temperatures above 115C. If Nd-Fe-B alloy is combined with a small percentage of cobalt, these temperatures can be increased by 20 to 40 C. In addition to these difficulties, the Neodymium based magnets have a low resistance to corrosion. The use of neodymium-based alloys depends exclusively on the performance/price ratio, which currently is superior to all other magnets, excepting ferrite magnets. It is possible in the near future to get the ferrites out of the competition by a significant reduction of production costs [11] [12]. IV. DESIGN OF PMSG For the study of a five-phase direct drive PMSG operating at low speeds, the design was proposed with the following electrical parameters: output power - 1 kW, speed n = 100 rpm, frequency - 50Hz, phase voltage - 230V, rotor inner diameter - 1m and turbine blades inside the rotor. The direct application of this type of generator is intended to be to for capture wind energy (wind turbines) Fig. 2.a, but the model can be used for marine currents energy capture, Fig.2.b (hydro generator) as well.

Alnico permanent magnets are made of aluminum (Al), nickel (Ni) and cobalt (Co) alloy. The best performance of the Alnico type magnets are found in the anisotropic, with oriented crystal. Depending on the alloy composition of which are manufactured, they have remanent flux density values between 0.5 1.3 T, coercivity of 40 130 kA/m and maximum energy up to 70 kJ/m3. The main advantages of these magnets are: high remanent flux density, good thermal stability (temperatures up to 520C) and corrosion resistance of the surfaces. The main disadvantages, which led to their gradual replacement with other types of permanent magnets, are: increased risk of demagnetization during operation due to low value of coercivity and relatively high production cost. Ferrite permanent magnets are the cheapest materials of the permanent magnet category. It is characterized by high corrosion resistance. The maximum operation temperature is quite high, about 225C. An important drawback is the low remanent flux density, which requires the use of complicated constructive solutions, with flux concentrators, which increases the coefficient of dispersion and reduces the efficiency of magnetic energy. It should be noted that for the ferrite, the maximum remanent flux density, is about 0.39 T, coercivity is between 250 265 kA/m and the maximum magnetic energy exceeds 30 kJ/m3. Even under these conditions, ferrites remained the most widely used materials with the economic advantage imposed by the high performance/price ratio. Rare earth permanent magnets SmCo, have medium remanent flux density and coercivity values, and very high magnetic energies (Br = 0.9 T, Hc = 700 kA /m, (BH)max = 220250 kJ/m3). However, these very affordable performance magnetic materials have high price, because of their composition with rare and expensive materials. Other advantages of these types of magnets are: stability over time due to the high value of coercivity and maximum


b) Fig. 2. Direct drive PMSGs: a) wind turbine, b) hydro-generator source: Open Hydro.

The five-phase winding configuration is explained by means of the slots star, Fig. 3. The main geometric parameters resulting from the design of the permanent magnet synchronous generator are presented in Table I.


2999 2988 e

10300 A 36o 1291

2977 C

2 292

296 6 a 2955 D
Fig. 3. Slots star: Z=300, q=1 TABLE I MAIN DESIGN DATA Design parameters and dimensions Air gap flux density B Air gap thickness g Rated current In Length of the magnetic circuit (li) Number of stator slots Z Number of the stator slots per pole and per phase q Outer diameter of the stator (De) Inner diameter of the stator (D) Inner diameter of the rotor (Dir) Number of rotor permanent magnets The volume of PMs for one pole

E 3 293 b 4 294

A comparative analysis of permanent magnets has been made, in terms of size, cost and performance, used in the construction of permanent magnet synchronous generator for use on a wind turbine, at small wind speeds. The comparative analysis was performed for three types of permanent magnets: Ferrite and two rare earth magnets: sintered neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) Hicorex super25EV HS type and samarium-cobalt SmCo (Vacomax 240) [11] [12]. The physical properties of the three types of permanent magnets are presented in Table III.
TABLE III PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF THE PERMANENT MAGNETS [11] SmCo Vacomax 240 0.98 580 180 8400 800 NdFeB hicorex super HS-25EV 0.98 716 183 7500 310

Property Remanent flux density Br, T Coercivity Hc, kA/m 0.65 T 1.25 mm 1.31 A 15 mm 300 1 1082 mm 1040 mm 1000 mm 60 1,14 cm3 Maximum energy (BH)max[J/m3] Specific mass density, Kg,m3 Curie temperature oC PM,

Ferrite 0.45 354 420 4982 450

The volume of all PMs used in electrical machines depends on the quality of PM material (maximum energy). In (1), 2p is the number of poles, and h, l, and L are the height, width and length of the PM, respectively. The output power Pout of a PM synchronous motor is proportional to VM.

VM = 2 p h l L


ANALYSIS IN TERMS OF CHOOSING THE TYPE OF PERMANENT MAGNET An important role for achieving the design of this type of synchronous generator is the choice of the type of magnet, its dimensions and the direction of magnetization. The flux density values of the PMSGs can not be modified from outside. For this reason, it should be chosen taking into account that the maximum value in the magnetic circuit does not exceed 1.6T, a value that is considered acceptable, and must be chosen according to Table II [10].
TABLE II THE MAXIMUM ADMISIBLE FLUX DENSITY VALUES OF THE MAGNETIC CIRCUIT [10] Flux density B [T] Salient-pole synchronous machines Air gap stator yoke tooth Rotor yoke Pole core 0.85-1.05 1.0-1.5 1.6-2.0 1.0-1.5 1.3-1.8 Non-salient pole synchronous machines 0.8-1.05 1.1-1.5 1.5-2.0 1.3-1.6 1.1-1.7


The volume of PMs is estimated on the basis of equation V M = cv Where Pout fB r H c (2)

cv =

2k ocf k fd (1 + e)

= 0.54 3.1


Where kocf is the overload capacity factor, kfd the form factor of the rotor excitation flux, is the coefficient of utilization of the PM and the coefficient e = E f V1 (V1 input voltage). Table IV presents the volume of the three types of permanent magnets necessary to obtain the rated voltage.
TABLE IV THE VOLUME OF PMS Volume of the permanent magnets

A generator used on a wind turbine is considered a machine with general purpose and is normally designed to minimize production cost. Taking into consideration that the synchronous generator with permanent magnets is of a special construction, with the disadvantage of a large diameter, the choice of the type of permanent magnet is very important, as advantageous in terms of cost and performance.




Height of PMs, h [cm] Width of PMs, l [cm] Length of PMs, L [cm] The volume of PMs for one pole [cm3]

1,5 0.9559 4,24 6.079

1.5 0.2547 4,325 1.65

1.5 0.1775 4.28 1.14


0.22 0.11 Relative Cost 0.044 ($/ gram) Note: the costs shown here are relative costs based on high volumes of magnet materials that have no special machining or other characteristics [According to the Total Magnetic SolutionTM]

The permanent magnets can be directions, resulting in accordance variety of different situations, with In our analysis, the permanent magnetization, Fig. 6.

magnetized in different with their geometry, a different practical uses. magnets have radial

The costs of different permanent magnet materials vary significantly from one to another. According with some trademarks, in the Table V is presented relative cost/gram for different types of permanent magnets. In Table VI are presented the weight and price for the three types of permanent magnets used in generator design. The costs are represented as a percentage of the SmCo price, which is taken as reference. As it can be seen, the NdFeB represents 30.7% of the price of SmCo magnet, and the ferrites only 0.04%. Fig. 4 shows in a graphic way data from Table VI.
TABLE VI THE MASS AND RELATIVE PRICE OF A PERMANENTLY MAGNETS USED IN DESIGN Magnet type mass [grams] for all the PMs Price Index (unit price) Inner diameter of the rotor (Dir) Ferrite 1816 0.04% 1000 mm SmCo 831.6 100% 1011 mm NdFeB 513 30.7% 1012 mm

Fig. 6. Magnetization directions of permanent magnets

VI. FEM ANALYSIS The geometric optimization of a structure requires a detailed analysis of the electromagnetic field distribution in the machine. In the perspective of the simulation for the low speed PMSG behavior and at the same operating environment characteristics, the Flux2D software package was used, developed by the Cedrat Company, which is based on numerical calculations using the finite element method [14]. It should be noted that the PMSG study has been carried on a transient type analysis. Fig. 7 shows the equivalent electrical circuit of the 5phased permanent magnet synchronous generator with rectifier bridge, used for the FEM analysis.

100 80 60 40 20 0 ferrite SmCo NeFeB ferrite SmCo NeFeB


a RfB b RfC c RfD d RfE e

R1 R2 R3 R4 R5

L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 Rl_DE Rl_AC


D2 D3




Fig. 4. Percentage price of permanent magnets used in design

Due to the low remanent flux density value, the ferrites require large volumes, which leads to increased rotor size (Dir=1000 mm), but they exhibit a very low cost advantage. By using rare earth permanent magnets, either NdFeB or SmCo, the magnet dimensions are much reduced, which translates into reducing benefit gauge generator, but a higher price compared to ferrites. The permanent magnets are mounted on the rotor surface but the airgap remains uniform, Fig. 5.


D7 D8

D9 D10

Fig. 7. Schematic diagram of the five-phase PMSG with rectify bridge

Rotor Magnets Stator Fig. 8. Flux lines distribution

Fig. 5. Rotor and stator core segment view


The results obtained by simulation will be displayed in


terms of flux lines distribution, flux density color map, airgap flux density curve and content in high order harmonic, and the waveforms of the phase, line and rectified voltages obtained at no load and under load operation. A first analysis put in view the flux lines distribution for the 60 poles, Fig. 8. It is a symmetric arrangement with equally distributed magnetic poles. The flux density color map shows that the presence of the

ferrites determines low values of the flux density across the magnetic circuit. Inspecting the attached color scale, it can be noted that the magnetic flux density values in this case are 1-1.2T, this is due to the low remanent magnetic flux density. In the case of the rare earth permanent magnets, the mean magnetic flux density values are within the recommended limits of about 1.4T, despite their much smaller sizes, Fig. 9.a, b.

a)ferrite Fig. 9. Flux density color map

(E-3) Tesla


c) NdFeB

(E-3) Tesla

(E-3) Tesla

250 0 -250



0 50 100
0 50 100

0 50 100

m m

(E-3) Tesla
400 300 200 100 0 0 10 20 3
600 500 400 300 200 100 0

(E-3) Tesla
600 500 400 300 200 100 0
0 10 20 30

(E-3) Tesla




a) ferrite

b) SmCo

c) NdFeB

Fig. 10. Air-gap flux density curve and content in high order harmonics TABLE VII AMPLITUDE OF THE MAIN HARMONICS AND THEIR PERCENTAGE Harmonic rank H1 H3 H5 H7 H9 H11 Ferrite Amplitude [T] 0.450 0.054 0.033 0.044 0.041 0.021 Weighting [%] 12% 7,3% 9,7% 9,1% 4,6% Amplitude [T] 0.699 0.105 0.037 0.072 0.074 0.039 SmCo Weighting [%] 15% 5.2% 10.3% 10.5% 55.7% NdFeB Amplitude [T] 0.677 0.098 0.032 0.070 0.067 0.040 Weighting [%] 14.47 4.79 10.49 10.04 5.99


Voltage [V]

Voltage [V]

0 -100 -200 -300 -400 -500 -600

VphA Vline AB Vline AC Vrectified

0 -200 -400 -600

VphA VlinieAB VlinieAC Vrectified

Voltage [V]

600 500 400 300 200 100

600 400 200

600 400 200 0 -200 -400 -600

VphA VlinieAB VlinieAC Vrectified
















time [s]

time [s]

time [s]

a) ferrite

b) SmCo

c) NdFeB

Fig. 11. Phase, line and rectified voltage - no-load operation

Voltage, V [V]

Fig. 10 presents the air-gap flux density curve and content in high order harmonics. The waveforms are similar for the three types of permanent magnets studied. The differences appear in their amplitude. The ferrites require significant volumes to create the same magnetic flux in the air gap as the SmCo and NdFeB magnets. Table VII presents the amplitude of the main harmonics and their weighting for the three types of permanent magnets: Ferrite, SmCo and NdFeB.
300 200 100

the characteristics are parallel, the voltage drop is similar no matter the type of permanent magnet.
500 450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4
ferrite SmCO NdFeB

Vph [A]

0 -100 -200 -300 NdFeB SmCo Ferrite




Current, I [A]
Fig. 13. External characteristic V= f(I) n=100 rpm

The same characteristic but in terms of V=f(Rload) is presented in Fig. 14.

500 450 400 350






time [s]
Fig. 12. Phase voltages

The phase, line and rectified voltage for each type of permanent magnet are presented in Fig. 11. The obtained voltages have similar shapes but different amplitudes, as expected. The voltage is directly influenced by the remanent flux density of the permanent magnet. The comparative analysis of the phase voltages under no-load operation of the synchronous generator proves that in case of ferrites, the obtained phase voltage is much smaller compared to SmCo and NdFeB (Fig. 12). Thus, for raising the voltage level in the case of the ferrites, it is necessary to increase their volume, which would translate to gauge growth. In other words, the use of rare earth permanent magnets, SmCo and NdFeB, has the advantage of obtaining the imposed voltage with a reduced gauge size in comparison with ferrites. The external characteristic V= f(I), for a constant speed of n = 100 rpm, is presented in Fig. 13. It provides information about the operation voltage drop under load. For drawing this characteristic, there have been several attempts at different values of load resistance at constant speed. Since

Voltage [V]

300 250 200 150 100 50 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000
ferrite SmCO NdFeB

Rload [Ohm]

Fig. 14. Characteristic V = f (Rload )

VIII. CONCLUSION A particularly important role in designing a PMSG with direct drive is the choice of the most efficient permanent magnet, in order to minimize production cost. The choice of the ferrite for the special construction generator, intended to operate at low speeds, is translated through the gauge growth of the magnetic circuit. In


addition, the low value of the remanent flux density value (0.4T) requires the use of some more complicated constructive solutions, with flux concentrators, which increases the coefficient of dispersion and reduces the efficiency of the magnetic energy. The use of the rare earth permanent magnets, SmCo or NdFeB, can give an overall significant cut, considering that the price of rare earth permanent magnets is in constant decline. From the comparative analysis presented for the three types of permanent magnets, it can be noted that the use of permanent magnets based on NdFeB, type Vacomax 240, is the best solution for low-speed PMSGs, both in terms of weight and size of the final generator, also in terms of price, which represents approximately 30% of the SmCo price. IX. ACKNOWLEDGMENT This work was carried out in collaboration with the Laboratoire des Sciences de l'Information et des Systmes (LSIS), Marseille, France. X.

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Ana-Maria Mihai received the B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Iai, Romania, in 2009 and 2010, respectively. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Electrical Engineering domain, at the same university. Her main research interest is design and simulation of electrical machines. Seifeddine Benelghali received the B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering in 2005 from ENIT, Tunis, Tunisia, the M.Sc. degree in Automatic Control in 2006 from the University of Poitiers, and the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering in 2009 from the University of Brest. After receiving the Ph.D. degree, he joined the French Naval Academy, Brest, France as a Teaching and Research Assistant. Since 2010, his is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering in the University of Aix-Marseille, France. His current research interests include modeling and control of renewable energy applications. Leonard Livadaru received the B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Iasi, Romania, in 1985 and 2003, respectively. He is currently Associate Professor with the Department of Electrical Machines at Electrical Engineering Faculty from the Technical University of Iasi, Romania. He has published over 140 papers in conference proceedings and 5 books. His technical interests are electric machines, simulation, design and optimization based on finite element method. Alecsandru Simion received the B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Technical University of Iai, Romania, in 1968 and 1976, respectively. He is currently a Professor with the Department of Electrical Machines at Electrical Engineering Faculty from the Technical University of Iai, Romania. He has published over 230 papers in conference proceedings and 10 books. His technical interests are electric machines and drives, simulation and design. He is the holder of 12 patents. Rachid OUTBIB received his Ph.D. degree in applied mathematics in 1994 and his HDR in Automatics control in 1998, respectively from university of Metz and university of Amiens (France). He was full professor at the University of Technology at Belfort (France), from 2003 to 2006. Since 2007 he is full professor at the University of Aix-Marseille. He is head of ESCODI a team of LSIS laboratory. His main research interests concern non linear systems methods with applications to fluid power, automotive and energetic systems.




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