Hyperloop start-up announces project locations

Eight projects involving Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) – one of two start-ups attempting to harness the technology – are underway around the world, the company’s chairman will tell a conference in Dubai next week.

One of these is a feasibility study with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Transportation, which would allow passengers to travel from Abu Dhabi to Dubai in 12 minutes.

Bibop G Gresta, chairman and co-founder of HTT, will unveil the future of Hyperloop at The Big 5’s Excellence in Construction Summit on 26 November 2017 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Ahead of his presentation next week, Gresta said: “We are currently working on eight projects around the world.”

The French city of Toulouse, along with Abu Dhabi, Jakarta, Seoul, and India’s Andhra Pradesh, are all working towards building a Hyperloop TT system, he will say.

The first passengers will be able to travel in a Hyperloop 36 months after the conditional permit approval.

Hyperloop is seen as potentially safe, fast and efficient: the drastic reduction of air in the tube along with magnetic levitation and electric propulsion allows capsules to move through the tube with nearly zero friction, accelerating to airplane speeds on the ground.

HTT is one of the two earliest start-ups to try to harness the concept developed by Elon Musk, the other being Hyperloop One in which Sir Richard Branson took a stake in October.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed but Branson takes a seat on the Hyperloop One board and the company will change its name to Virgin Hyperloop One.

First proposed by Tesla’s Elon Musk in 2013, the Hyperloop concept sees magnetically-levitated pods rocketing through steel tubes maintained at a partial vacuum, reaching speeds approaching 760mph. Proponents believe it could replace short-haul travel between cities.

“Speed is what I call ‘a very nice consequence’ of the Hyperloop, but efficiency is probably the best outcome of this new technology,” said Gresta. “The feasibility studies we are conducting prove that the Hyperloop transportation system is not only doable, but also sustainable and profitable.”

While high-speed trains are energy intensive, the Hyperloop system can produce more energy than it consumes, using a combination of renewable energy sources including solar, wind and kinetic. Hyperloop’s efficiency also consists in being able to transport passengers in capsules comfortably and quickly.

Based on initial studies, building a Hyperloop costs between $20 and $40m per kilometre. Looking at the cost per passenger, this technology proves very competitive, being as low as $5 per person, said Gresta. “The Hyperloop can repay the initial investments in 8-10 years, depending on where you build it.”

Moreover, “while high-speed trains or rails in general face some real issues in the local climate, with great temperature excursion and sand, the Hyperloop TT system is completely protected from any external environment agent”, Gresta explained.

“People are shielded in a vacuum system that is air-conditioned, and we can guarantee throughput no matter what happens outside. This simply could be the safest transportation system ever invented by humans.”

Regulation is Hyperloop’s number one challenge today. “We are currently developing the regulation and certification framework that this new system needs, in cooperation with a certification agency, an insurance company and governments,” said Gresta.

Efficiency is probably the best outcome of this new technology. The feasibility studies we are conducting prove that the Hyperloop transportation system is not only doable, but also sustainable and profitable.– Bibop G Gresta, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

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