In 2013, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk shared a white paper on Hyperloop Alpha. Since then, amid much development, a handful of companies are racing to build a fully operational hyperloop.
One such company is the Delft-based Hardt Hyperloop, a winner of Elon Musk’s Hyperloop competition in 2017.
In the latest development, Hardt Hyperloop has been awarded €15M by the European Commission. The EIC Accelerator funds were awarded by the European Innovation Council and will help Hardt and its public and private partners to accelerate the development of the hyperloop.
According to the company, it is the first time that a hyperloop company has received such financial support from Brussels.
Tim Houter, the co-founder of Hardt Hyperloop, sees this investment as a validation of the immense potential hyperloops and his company hold. “It’s great to have now gained the trust of the European Commission. Their support will help to accelerate the development of a European hyperloop network, bringing us much closer to significant CO2 savings. European cities will be connected smarter, faster, and cheaper,” he said.
What is Hyperloop?
Hyperloop is a revolutionary ground transport system, still, in its nascent stages, that lets passengers travel at over 700 miles/hour in floating pods within low-pressure tubes.
Powered by an entirely electromagnetic propulsion system, Hyperloop will not only cut travel time between major cities by several hours but also helps the European community agenda – making the transport sector more sustainable.
“The support from the EU is a major breakthrough,” says Houter. “Now that Brussels is also on board, there is support at all levels, regional, national and continental.”
Hyperloop Development Program
Hardt Hyperloop is working with various public and private partners, including the Dutch Government, the Province, and Municipality of Groningen, Dutch Railways, Royal Schiphol Group, Tata Steel, and Royal BAM Group, in the Hyperloop Development Program (HDP) on the integration of this new modality alongside cars, trains, and planes in the European Hyperloop Centre.
The European Hyperloop Centre is being developed in close collaboration with the Province and Municipality of Groningen. The company is planning to demonstrate lane-switching for high-speed hyperloop in 2023.
Lane Switch technology
The first European Hyperloop network will be equipped with Hyperloop Lane Switch (HLS) technology, which enables hyperloop vehicles to change lanes without any additional or moving components.
This means that even when vehicles are travelling at high speeds, they can effortlessly switch routes, and merge in and out of the network.
“A great next step after the European Hyperloop Center would be to establish the first route in the Netherlands within this decade. If this route is realised in the Netherlands, we will be on track to achieving a broad European hyperloop network that can save 160 Megatonnes of CO2 on an annual basis, more than the entire CO2 emissions of the Netherlands,” Houter added.