Science

Hyperloop for Chicago-Cleveland route steps closer with unveiling of world’s first safety valve

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), the group building the Cleveland Hyperloop, has unveiled the world’s first full scale isolation valve that can withstand up to 288,000 pounds of force.

The 16.5-foot valves will be placed every seven miles throughout the tube system that closes off a section for maintenance, while allowing cars to continue through vacuumed tubes at 700 miles per hour. 

The Cleveland Hyperloop is set to connect the Ohio city with Chicago, allowing passengers to make the 313-mile trip in just under 30 minutes, but the team is also exploring an expansion to include Pittsburgh and New York City.

HTT’s announcement puts the firm in the running to bring Elon Musk‘s vision into a reality – Musk first proposed the radical, pod-based transport system in 2013. 

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The 16.5-foot valves will be placed every seven miles throughout the tube system that can close off a section for maintenance, while allowing cars to continue through the vacuumed tubes at 700 miles per hour

HTT signed a deal with the North Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and Illinois’ Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study on a network connecting Cleveland to Chicago in 2018. 

The study not only confirmed the plan to build tunnels between Cleveland and Chicago, but also suggests it could expand to Pittsburgh and New York City as well, News5Cleveland reports.

According to HTT, their pods will be able to carry a total of 164,000 passengers every day, departing every 40 seconds for the designated hub.

And although the tunnels are still being developed, the firm has finished the first full scale safety valve. 

In most emergency scenarios, capsules will stop at pre-determined emergency stations along the route’s length to exit the capsule and tube infrastructure. As a redundant emergency response option, the HyperloopTT system will isolate sections of the tube for re-pressurization

In most emergency scenarios, capsules will stop at pre-determined emergency stations along the route’s length to exit the capsule and tube infrastructure. As a redundant emergency response option, the HyperloopTT system will isolate sections of the tube for re-pressurization

Ken Harrison, president and CEO of GNB KL Group, said: ‘It’s one of the largest vacuum valves that has ever been built and one of the really amazing things is the amount of force that this valve can withstand.’ 

‘There are 288,000 pounds of force that are applied to the gate of this valve. That’s about 72 automobiles or one diesel locomotive.’

In most emergency scenarios, capsules will stop at pre-determined emergency stations along the route’s length to exit the capsule and tube infrastructure. 

As a redundant emergency response option, the HyperloopTT system will isolate sections of the tube for re-pressurization. 

The valves are set to undergo testing at HTT's research and development center in Toulouse, France

The valves are set to undergo testing at HTT’s research and development center in Toulouse, France

The valve will then be sent as a commercial prototype to Abu Dhabi(pictured), where the firm plans to transport the first passenger in the next few years. HTT also plans to begin operations along its proposed Chicago-Cleveland-Pittsburgh line later this decade

The valve will then be sent as a commercial prototype to Abu Dhabi(pictured), where the firm plans to transport the first passenger in the next few years. HTT also plans to begin operations along its proposed Chicago-Cleveland-Pittsburgh line later this decade

If the capsule is unable to stop at a pre-defined exit, a lit emergency path in the depressurized tube will lead passengers to emergency hatches to safely exit the infrastructure. 

The valves are set to undergo testing at HTT’s research and development center in Toulouse, France and will then be sent as a commercial prototype to Abu Dhabi, where it plans to transport the first passenger in the next few years. 

HTT also plans to begin operations along its proposed Chicago-Cleveland-Pittsburgh line later this decade.

Andres De Leon, CEO of HyperloopTT, said: ‘One of the questions we regularly receive regarding our technology is about safety, especially in emergency scenarios.’

According to HTT, their pods (pictured)  will be able to carry a total of 164,000 passengers every day, departing every 40 seconds for the designated hub

According to HTT, their pods (pictured)  will be able to carry a total of 164,000 passengers every day, departing every 40 seconds for the designated hub

‘These valves, built to safety certification standards by a world-class leader, are an essential part of hyperloop safety, as they allow us to isolate portions of the track in the event maintenance is needed or in the rare case of an emergency.’

HTT and Spanish firm Carbures have started work on the radical pod that they say will be the first passenger capsule in the world.

A video teasing the construction process shows a glimpse at the inside of a futuristic capsule that could fit 28 to 40 passengers at a time.

The Hyperloop pod, which will be tested at the company’s Toulouse headquarters, will harness passive magnetic levitation and a low pressure tube to hit unprecedented speeds.

‘The capsule hovers inside a tube with low air pressure, and like a jet plane at high altitude, experiences little air resistance,’ according to the firm.

‘The remaining air in front of the capsule is moved to the back using a compressor, allowing for speeds up to 760 mph, with very low energy consumption.’

Although HTT is pushing along with its system, the Virgin Hyperloop has already sent passengers in levitating pods through a vacuum tube at speeds over 100 mph.

The Hyperloop pod, which will be tested at the company's Toulouse headquarters, will harness passive magnetic levitation and a low pressure tube to hit unprecedented speeds

 The Hyperloop pod, which will be tested at the company’s Toulouse headquarters, will harness passive magnetic levitation and a low pressure tube to hit unprecedented speeds

Virgin Hyperloop Chief Technology Officer Josh Giegel and Director of Passenger Experience Sara Luchian took the ride at the firm’s Las Vegas test site. 

The pod took a mere 15 seconds to travel down the 0.3 miles (500 metres) -long vacuum tube which has been constructed in the Nevada desert.

‘I had the true pleasure of seeing history made before my very eyes,’ said Virgin Hyperloop chair Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem.

‘We are one step closer to ushering in a new era of ultra-fast, sustainable movement of people and goods,’ he added.

‘For the past few years, the Virgin Hyperloop team has been working on turning its ground breaking technology into reality,’ said Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson.

‘With today’s successful test, we have shown that this spirit of innovation will in fact change the way people everywhere live, work, and travel in the years to come.’

WHAT IS THE HYPERLOOP?

Hyperloop is a proposed method of travel that would transport people at roughly 700mph between distant locations.

It was unveiled by Elon Musk in 2013, who at the time said it could take passengers the 380 miles (610km) from LA to San Francisco in 30 minutes – half the time it takes a plane.

It is essentially a long tube that has had the air removed to create a vacuum. For safety reasons, Hyperloop tunnels need escape hatches in case of fire. 

The tube is suspended off the ground to protect against weather and earthquakes. 

There are now a number of firms vying to bring the technology to life, including Elon Musk himself, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, and Virgin Hyperloop One.  

As several firms vie to create the first operational Hyperloop, Elon Musk’s vision of a radical transport system that could ferry passengers above land at 760 miles per hour continues to inch closer to reality

As several firms vie to create the first operational Hyperloop, Elon Musk’s vision of a radical transport system that could ferry passengers above land at 760 miles per hour continues to inch closer to reality


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