The future of transport - the Hyperloop

By Ashini K Ekanayake

Developments in transport has become one of humanity’s greatest achievements, allowing us to no longer be boxed in by constraints such as the ocean. These developments are not slowing, in fact as time passes concepts are becoming more adventurous. For instance, Virgin hyperloop One (VHO) believes that is has come up with the concept for the world’s most efficient mode of transportation which will aid in facilitating a circular economy which prioritizes environmental sustainability and reduced waste.

The founder of Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson, said in a press statement that innovations like the hyperloop not only meet the growing demands for transportation, but also drives the future in a more environmentally sustainable and friendly direction via an option which to only has zero emissions, but rapidly connects people and goods to one another. 

The CEO of VHO, Jay Walder, additionally adds that “ As the world’s population grows, there is a greater demand for rapid and seamless travel as well as an increase in the demand for efficient delivery of goods and services. This growing demand must be met in a way which is efficient, clean, and beneficial for the future of the planet. The technology hyperloop provides can be that very solution which sets the bar for the fastest, most energy-efficient and sustainable form of travel ever created.” 

Hyperloop concept

Hyperloop concept

The aforementioned technology involved in the creation of VHO’s hyperloop revolves around the concept of using magnetic levitation to propel a capsule-like vehicle though a depressurized tubes, allowing the transport of passengers and goods at a speed of nearly 700 miles per hour. The hyperloop will be able to carry more people than a subway can at the speeds of an airline, with zero direct emissions on top of the whole affair. “By combining the use of an ultra-efficient electric motor, magnetic levitation and a low-drag environment, the VHO system will be five to ten times more energy efficient than an airplane, and will be much faster than any high-speed rail while using less energy.”, states the company. In order to provide for the energy needs of the system, VHO suggests that solar panels could be integrated within the hyperloop’s infrastructure. 

The company is currently on a tour across America to introduce the public to hyperloop technology. The company also has several hyperloop projects underway across the country. For instance, the Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Transportation Council and The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission are conducting active feasibility studies into the environmental impact of the hyperloop and the viability of building hyperloop routes in the Fort Worth area and the Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh corridor respectively. Internationally, the company is currently working with the Indian government of Maharashtra on developing a hyperloop route between Pune and Mumbai. According to VHO, the implementation of a regional VHO system within India could aid in the reduction of local greenhouse gas emissions by up to 150,000 tonnes annually, creating 1.8 million new jobs, as well as a $36 billon economic impact across the region.