New Hyperloop test track in West Virginia

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D he Hyperloop is one of the projects with which Tesla boss Elon Musk wants to revolutionize traffic. Thanks to electric cars, rockets, tunnels and the Hyperloop, traffic should be faster and more environmentally friendly in the future. With the Hyperloop, a passenger capsule races through an almost evacuated tube - Musk heralded the start of the project seven years ago. In the competition for the best Hyperloop capsule, designs from Europe also regularly shine. Now a certification center is to be built in the US state of West Virginia with a long hyperloop tube.

Virgin Hyperloop One
Virgin Hyperloop One wants to start construction of the Certification Center in the US state West Virginia in 2022.

Billionaire Richard Branson invests

Hyperloop One is one of the companies that are working on the technical implementation of the Hyperloop. US billionaire and Virgin founder Richard Branson has invested in the company and has since renamed it Virgin Hyperloop One. Virgin Hyperloop One is now investing $ 500 million (currently the equivalent of around 424 million euros) in a test site that is to be built from 2022. The tube located on the site is also expressly intended to be available to US authorities for issuing safety certificates. Virgin Hyperloop One would like to receive permission to transport passengers in 2025, and regular passenger transport should then start in 2030.

Hardt Hyperloop
Hardt Hyperloop from the Netherlands has built the first fully functional European Hyperloop capsule.

Hardt Hyperloop

The first functioning Hyperloop in Europe comes from the Netherlands. According to its own information, the start-up Hardt Hyperloop has integrated all the important elements into its system. The first tunnel is in Delft, in the west of the Netherlands between Rotterdam and The Hague. This is only a 30 meter straight line, but it is original size. 'After two years of research and hard work, we are the first in Europe to have developed a working Hyperloop system,' says Mars Geuze, CCO of Hardt Hyperloop.

Changing lanes without losing speed

Hardt Hyperloop
At the end of June, Europe's first functioning Hyperloop system was opened in Delft.

Hardt Hyperloop is working on his project with well-known partners. Tothe supporters not only include a consortium made up of the Royal BAM Group, Tata Steel and Royal IHC, but also the supplier Continental and Deutsche Bahn with its DB Engineering & Consulting division, which is even involved in Hardt.

Research center with 3 km test track

Of course, high speeds cannot be achieved in the short tunnel. But that should be possible in the 'European Hyperloop Center'. The research and development center with a three-kilometer stretch, for which a location is still being sought, is to be built by 2021. Competing developers should also be able to test their systems there and standards for the European Hyperloop infrastructure and technology should be set and checked.

Hyperloop systems should be able to move at speeds of over 1,000 km /h. The aim is to build a route network that connects the metropolises with one another. Hyperloop should develop into a more climate-friendly alternative to airplanes. The technical principle: capsules move in tubes that stand on pillars and in which there is a partial vacuum, at speeds close to the speed of sound. They either slide through the tube on air cushions or float through electromagnetically driven. Most researchers and companies currently seem to favor the second variant.

The subject became known through Tesla founder Elon Musk, who wants to set up a hyperloop network in the USA and is organizing a competition among research institutions to find out who can deliver the most promising technology for this. Researchers from the Technical University of Munich are eagerly involved and are among the most successful participants.

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