Nanostructured Magnets Could Replace Rare Earth Magnets
Science to the Rescue
Rare earth elements, which are used to make all kinds of things, including wind turbines and hybrid/electric cars, have been in the news quite a bit lately. First China announced that it would reduce exports (after cutting Japan's supply after a diplomatic spat), which probably helped speed up the re-opening of a rare earths mine in California and Toyota's transition to electric motors that don't require these elements.
Technology review has an interesting piece about a way to sidestep the rare earths supply problem by using nanocomposites materials. It could even lead to stronger and lighter magnets, which could mean more efficient wind turbines and electric vehicles.