A capsule filled with passengers, able to fly in a tube at a speed of about 1000 km / h and serve as an alternative to the plane – this is the vision through the Hyperloop technology. At technical conferences and in various media, this utopia is often evoked and gives the impression that we will make the travel Vienna – Cologne in one hour! Although in theory it sounds fantastic, it is important to consider the several challenges hyperloop faces in both construction and its impact on society. The biggest speed bump hyperloop faces is the cost of the technology and elaborate tube system, estimated to cost millions of dollars.
Various European start-ups, such as Hardt Hyperloop in the Netherlands, Zeleros in Spain and Hyper Poland, focused on the Hyperloop theme. We still talked a lot about them at the end of November. On the one hand, Certifer, a French railway certification agency created in 1997, announced they are working with Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO) to meet their goal of surpassing the safety of all existing transport systems. Virgin Hyperloop One is a competitor of Hyperloop of Elon Musk.
Certifer has followed VHO’s progress with the R&D, prototyping and testing stages, and has performed a complete review of their solution design status. The experienced Independent Safety Assessors at Certifer validated the readiness of Virgin Hyperloop One’s technology and organization to be assessed in terms of safety and confirmed the company is ready to take this historic first step – the first of its kind in the hyperloop space.
This means that Hyperloop technology could enter a more concrete phase of achievement.
On the other hand, an event that is becoming more and more emblematic each year, Hypermotion Fair in Frankfurt, was also entitled to its conference on Hyperloop. From 26 to 28 November 2019, technology drivers and experts met to find new solutions in the fields of traffic, transport, infrastructure and logistics. In total, about 200 speakers and 3,000 visitors from Germany and around the world participated in the Hypermotion Fair to discuss the mobility of the future.
The ‘Hypermotion Lab’ is the centerpiece of the event because of its disruptive questions and its forward-looking thinking. For this third edition, the concept of Hyperloop, which is the visionary heartbeat of Elon Musk, took a important place.
David Pistoni, co-founder and CEO of Zeleros, Gabriele Semino, mechanical engineer at Warr Hyperloop, Mars Gueze, marketing director at Hardt Hyperloop, Katarzyna Foljanty, CEO of Hyperloop in Poland, and Bertrand Minary, head of innovations, participated in a meeting at Hypermotion Fair about Hyperloop projects for rail and multimodal freight in the French railway company SNCF.
Martin J. Fröhlich, Head of New Horizons at Deutsche Bahn AG, led the discussions. Apparently, one of the largest rail operators in Europe also dreams of traveling in tubes with capsules launched at 1000km / h. « When we talk about Hyperloop, we must also remember that it is more environmentally friendly than other modes of transport and that it can also be used for the transport of goods, » said Bertrand Minary of the SNCF.
In ten years, according to forecasts, one billion trucks will roll on the roads and the queues in Europe and the number of deaths on the motorways will increase, explains Minary. « We have to make sure that the transition from road to rail is going as smoothly as possible while thinking about new models, and that here Hyperloop can play a big role. In addition to the environmental aspect, trucks also generate more noise than a Hyperloop system.In addition, trucks create traffic jams and are less safe than the train. »
Mars Gueze, CEO of the dutch company Hardt Hyperloop, raises the issue of lack of political support and lack of capital. This is a central problem: « Investors want to see a real prototype first, but we need money to build it, » said Gueze. Without a prototype, Hyperloop risks remaining a theoretical project or a project generated on other continents rather than Europe.
Katarzyna Foljanty, chief business officer and co-founder of Hyper Poland, also explains that Poland will build a test track to demonstrate the vehicle suspension system and the efficiency of the linear unit. Hyper Poland and the Railway Institute are working on the development of a large-scale vacuum solution for long-term fatigue testing of Hyperloop capsules.
The various hyperloop proponents make much of the idea that hyperloop would be completely powered by solar technology. While that is certainly not true of air travel, both maglev and HSR are electrically powered and could be powered by solar, if desired. It is not clear how much energy would be needed to operate hyperloop, but most routes would be two to three times more energy efficient than air travel. However, the energy arguments will be paramount for the acceptability of the system in the future. So that’s a crucial point.
We are entering a new decade that will be both exciting and disruptive. Because new technologies are scary and induce in some people a movement of rejection. It will be crucial to convince that Hyperloop is not an instrument opposed to the fight against global warming.
(mainly taken from Jarnvagsnyheter.se)