The company developing the pneumatic high-speed transportation system Hyperloop has unveiled magnetic technology, which will, according to the claims, make the system more efficient than Japanese Maglev supertrains.
Hyperloop announced it has exclusively licensed its passive magnetic levitation technology, developed by a team led by the late American physicist Dr Richard Post from the Lawrence Livermore National Labs (LLNL).
Passive magnetic levitation has minimal requirements for power infrastructure compared to maglev, which uses active levitation. Maglev trains are suspended in the air by superconducting electromagnets built into the track that require a constant supply of high-voltage electricity.
On the contrary, the passive magnetic levitation technology to be used by Hyperloop relies on a linear induction motor embedded in the passenger-carrying pod and a Halbach array of permanent magnets.
As the motor pushes the pod forward, the moving magnets create a magnetic field that lifts the pod in the air. To stop the pod, the direction of the thrust is reversed, with the energy released during the deceleration recovered by the pod’s batteries.
"Utilising a passive levitation system will eliminate the need for power stations along the Hyperloop track, which makes this system the most suitable for the application and will keep construction costs low," said Bibop Gresta, COO of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. "From a safety aspect, the system has huge advantages. Levitation occurs purely through movement, therefore if any type of power failure occurs, Hyperloop pods would continue to levitate and only after reaching minimal speeds touch the ground."
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies said it has been working with the LLNL team for over a year, a cooperation that resulted in the construction of a test track at LLNL.
"I had the honor of meeting with Dr. Post in 2014 prior to his passing," said Dirk Ahlborn, HTT’s CEO. "He saw the Hyperloop transportation system as the perfect fit for this technology and was excited to see it become part of the project."