EAEI's Breunig in Start-up Accepted to the Bay Area NSF I-Corps

April 25th 2016
Light-weight water-resistant fixed-magnet array plate.

Copper and epoxy stator is sandwiched between two magnet array plates in motor.

Portrait of Dr. Hanna Breunig

A start-up team, including Dr. Hanna Breunig of the Sustainable Energy Systems group at LBNL, was recently accepted into the Bay Area regional NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps™), a program designed to help start-ups conduct customer discovery. Torq3, the start-up team, is developing new configurations of the Halbach Array Electric Motor (HAEM) to make them more powerful and energy efficient. Improving these characteristics will allow the new configurations to power small aircrafts, like drones, and surveillance submarines. Additional applications for the team's motors include small-scale emergency heat and water systems and desalination systems.The fundamental critical need addressed by the team is to develop motors that diminish the use of fossil fuels. Led by engineer Peter Theron, Torq3 includes systems analyst Hanna Breunig, industrial designer Tom Robbins, and design advisor Gordon Dean, a former NASA electrical engineer. Theron and Robbins lead the design and construction of the prototypes. Hanna Breunig's role will be to advise on policy and regulation implications and to conduct a life-cycle and techno-economic analysis to guide the sustainable scale-up of the technology. Following completion of the regional ICorp program, the team will be eligible to compete for the national NSF ICorp program and grant.