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Hyperloop Firm Begins Multi-State Study

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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One of two companies seeking to make the “Hyperloop” high-speed transit system a reality is one step closer, after announcing an agreement with agencies in two states to begin a feasibility study.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies said last week that it has entered into an agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency to study the possibility of a Hyperloop system between Chicago and Cleveland.

Hyperloop proposed route
Images: Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is studying the feasibility of a Hyperloop route between Chicago and Cleveland.

It is the first such agreement involving parties from multiple states.

HTT says it has formed a regional consortium of “other prominent organizations” around the idea of building a Hyperloop system in the Midwest.

"We came here because places like Cleveland, Chicago and Pittsburgh have the manufacturing, the raw materials and the talented, hard-working people in order to make it happen," said Andrea La Mendola, HTT’s chief global operations officer. "We can source everything from this area. This is a place where you make big things."

HTT also noted that last month it worked with Congressional representatives from Illinois and Ohio, as well as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, to ask President Donald J. Trump for federal support for Hyperloop development.

Hyperloop History

The Hyperloop concept originated with inventor Elon Musk, who then made the basic plan “open source,” a practice borrowed from the software world, in which a plan or set of code is opened up to the public for further development. That opened the door to HTT and its prime competitor, Hyperloop One, to begin work on bringing the idea to life.

The transportation system makes use of a depressurized cylinder made up of a series of steel tubes through which levitating cylindrical passenger (or freight) pods travel at high speeds on a cushion of air.

Hyperloop capsule

HTT is working on its prototype pod, set to be unveiled this year.

Last fall, Maryland gave conditional approval to Musk’s The Boring Company to build a tunnel in that state for the eventual installation of a Hyperloop system. The Boring Company also aims to build a system of tunnels in California, some potentially for Hyperloop use.

The first Hyperloop pod to be built, by HTT competitor Virgin Hyperloop One (previously known simply as Hyperloop One), was unveiled last summer.  That company is studying the feasibility of a Hyperloop route in Missouri, between St. Louis and Kansas City.

HTT began work on its pod last year and anticipates unveiling a prototype this year. HTT’s pod will reportedly be constructed of a carbon fiber composite material called “Vibranium”—inspired by the fictional material used to protect Captain America—that the company developed with Slovakian materials firm c2i, which focuses on engineering carbon fiber structures for next-generation cars and aircraft.


Tagged categories: Infrastructure; Mass transit; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Transportation

Comment from Robert Bullard, (2/20/2018, 9:32 AM)

I still do not get how an air evacuated tube (condition in front of canister) with atmospheric (or higher) pressure behind is simultaneously levitated by sufficient pressurized air under the canister to support the canister in no contact with the interior walls of the tube while traveling at high speed within this complex dynamic gaseous regime, especially around curves and up and down grades.. This is not your drive-up window vacuum conveyor at your bank or any other various liquid or bulk material conveyors. Then, of course, we have the thermal issues of the heating and cooling of massive amounts of air being pumped around to make all this happen, especially without there being issues with the moisture in the air..

Comment from Christopher Gatian, (2/21/2018, 11:48 AM)

I found this paper to be quite informative, Robert.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (2/22/2018, 10:09 AM)

Robert: The pods are not being pushed by air. It is not a classic "vacuum tube" like the bank. The tube has a "soft" vacuum (low pressure) both in front of and behind the tube. Propulsion methods proposed vary, but it appears that Maglev is in the lead, like many high speed trains.

Comment from Michael Halliwell, (2/23/2018, 11:37 AM)

General system appears to be maglev in a depressurized tube to greatly reduce air resistance / drag. Basically, it's a bullet train in a vacuum to go faster / use less energy.

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