The Hyperloop from Emden: A team at Emden/Leer University of Applied Sciences is developing a capsule that can travel in Elon Musk's high-speed “Hyperloop” tube. The system could become an important component of the Traffic concept of the future.
lon Musk, founder of the electric car manufacturer Tesla, wants to move manned capsules in a tube called the “Hyperloop” at almost the speed of sound. When he called on students worldwide to support his vision in 2015, Walter Neu and Thomas Schüning, professors at the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer in Lower Saxony, also took notice. Together, they set up a team to develop their own vehicle based on the Hyperloop principle: The “Hyperpod X” capsule is supposed to float in Musk's tube, glide along at lightning speed and consume very little energy. Air resistance normally accounts for around 80 per cent of a vehicle's energy consumption – Hyperloop is an almost airless space. The concept is not a science fiction scenario, says Schüning, but “a technology that we have mastered from a technical perspective".
SYSTEM COMPONENTS ARE BEING WORKED ON WORLDWIDE
The air pressure in the tube is comparable to that of a flight at an altitude of 20 to 30 kilometres. “So you could say that the Hyperloop will be grounding planes going forward,” explains the mechanical engineer. A worldwide community of companies and universities is now working on suitable system components. “The capsules have to be stable and safe to withstand the high speeds, and at the same time they should be able to float,” explains Schüning. “In doing so, we have to submit to certain restrictions of the tube, including that no heat dissipation is possible within the system.” He sees the Emden location as a player in an international Hyperloop network: “We have already initiated some EU research projects and are trying to bring all the players together to make the Hyperloop a reality.” A test circuit is needed for this. In Groningen, the Netherlands, for example, a model is being built. The former test circuit of the Transrapid in Emsland is also partly suitable – technologically speaking, the Hyperloop could be called Transrapid 2.0. “Ultimately, however, we need a common route for Europe,” says Schüning.
CONNECTIONS WITH LOGISTICS HUBS
While Elon Musk is primarily focusing on the high speed of the system to enable people to travel, the community, according to Schüning, initially wants to look more at freight transport.
"The tube can certainly not completely replace other modes of transport. But there is also great potential in combining it with other alternative delivery concepts such as the Cargobike from Krone subsidiary Rytle. We are in contact with the Krone vehicle factory to exchange knowledge and experience.” The expert considers it conceivable that in at least ten years, the first routes will emerge that connect industrial areas with logistics hubs. “That way, you could get more delivery traffic out of the cities,” he explains. The expansion of a hyperloop infrastructure is certainly one of the biggest challenges: “But if you want to achieve the climate goals, you have to face such challenges.”