When thinking about power generation, many people will immediately think of the motor. We all know that a motor is the primary components that makes a car move through the internal combustion engine. However, motors have so many other applications: in the example of the car alone, there are at least an additional 80 more motors. Indeed, electric motors already make up more than 30% of our total energy consumption, and this percentage will increase even further. At the same time, many countries are facing an energy crisis, and are looking for more sustainable ways to generate power. KUAS’ Fuat Kucuk specializes in the field of motors and knows how crucially important they may be in solving many of our energy issues.
Coming from a background of control engineering, Dr. Kucuk primary research interest is in getting the highest efficiency out of electric motors. Specifically, he is looking at the control and design of motors, as well as the ever-important magnet. Inside a motor, the magnet plays a significant role in the increase or decrease of motor performance as a whole. Today, electric motors are in almost every device and appliance around us, meaning that achieving even a small uptick in efficiency can result in a significant reduction in energy consumption. One of the most popular research fields currently is electric vehicles (EVs). In EVs, one of the major challenges in improving their commercial viability is the need to decrease the price of the motor, far and away their most expensive part. Here, Dr. Kucuk is looking at alternatives to the neodymium magnets, which are the most widely used magnets for this application in the world. However, these magnets are primarily concentrated in the Chinese market. This makes it difficult and costly to import for other countries primarily producing EVs.
Dr. Kucuk wants to take this research even further: the field of electric motors is more than 100 years old now, and has seen rapid improvements such as the emergence of power electronics and semiconductors. However, he feels that it has only begun to truly emerge as the primary field in energy. Simply taking the current numbers, when electric motors account for more than 30% of the world’s energy consumption, achieving even a 1% increase in efficiency leads to profound environmental benefits, including for instance the broad-ranging stoppage of building new power plants. Looking at it in these simple terms, the wide-reaching implications of Dr. Kucuk’s research understate its importance.