Virgin plans to make hyperloop the most energy-efficient transport
Virgin Hyperloop One (VHO) has announced that its hyperloop system is poised to be the most energy-efficient mode of mass transportation in the world. In conjunction with Climate Week NYC, Los Angeles-based Virgin Hyperloop One made its announcement from Rockefeller Plaza at Rockefeller Center in New York, where it is showcasing its XP-1 test vehicle from its Nevada test track. VHO also announced that it is joining the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s CE100 network, which brings together businesses, innovators, cities, governments and universities committed to accelerating the transition to a circular economy.
“The only way to address this mounting crisis is head-on. We need big ideas like hyperloop to reach zero-emission transport while rapidly connecting people and goods,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.
“As the world’s population grows, especially our urban populations, global demands for rapid, seamless travel and more efficient deliveries will continue to rise. We must meet demand in a way that is efficient, clean and protects the future of our planet,” said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop One. “Hyperloop technology can be that radical solution, setting the bar for the fastest, most energy-efficient and sustainable form of travel ever created.”
VHO claims Hyperloop will be able to transport people and goods at nearly 1100 km/h in depressurised environments via magnetic levitation. The company says it will be able to carry more people than a subway, at airline speeds and with zero direct emissions. By combining an ultra-efficient electric motor, magnetic levitation and a low-drag environment, the VHO system will be 5–10 times more energy efficient than an aircraft and faster than high-speed rail using less energy. VHO’s infrastructure can also support the creation of renewable energy by integrating solar panel technology across the outdoor transport tube system. Depending on the climate, the integration of solar technology could generate two-thirds of a route’s projected energy needs, says VHO.
VHO is currently working with the Indian government of Maharashtra on a route between Pune and Mumbai. With a combined population of 25 million, the regional city pair sees more than 75 million commuting trips annually, a number which is expected to skyrocket to 130 million by 2026. The implementation of a regional VHO system could reduce local greenhouse gas emissions by up to 150,000 tons annually while creating 1.8 million new jobs and $36 billion in economic impact across the region.
In addition to VHO’s commitment to reduce the environmental impact of the transportation industry, Virgin Hyperloop One joins the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Economy 100 Network (CE100) as an ‘emerging innovator’. The CE100 brings together businesses, innovators, cities, governments, and universities committed to accelerating the transition to a circular economy. By joining the CE100 network, VHO commits to creating a circular hyperloop framework that is restorative and regenerative by design, establishing methods to re-use decommissioned elements of its system and reducing its carbon output. VHO is the first mass transportation company to join the prestigious network, which includes companies like Google, Apple and Unilever.
“We are delighted to welcome Virgin Hyperloop One to the CE100, the world’s leading circular economy network. It is this collaboration among our diverse and dynamic network that enables members to realise circular economy innovation opportunities much faster than they could alone, and we are excited that Virgin Hyperloop One is now part of this community,” said Joe Murphy, CE100 lead, Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
In the United States, 10 states are now exploring hyperloop including Missouri, Texas, Colorado, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, Indiana and Oregon — in addition to Nevada, which hosts the test site. The United States House of Representatives recently fully funded US Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao’s New and Emerging Transportation Technologies (NETT) Council, which was established to research and standardise hyperloop technology.
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