• Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

Europe’s Longest Hyperloop Center Opens in the Netherlands

Europe’s longest hyperloop testing facility has opened in the Netherlands, offering a platform for research and development in the field of high-speed transportation, according to a report by AFP. 

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EHC Director Sascha Lamme walks inside a 420m long tunnel serving as a testing facility, constructed to develop hyperloop technologies as a potential future sustainable transportation system, at the European Hyperloop Center (EHC) in Veendam on March 26, 2024. (Photo: NICK GAMMON/AFP via Getty Images)

The European Hyperloop Center

Located near Veendam in the northern part of the country, the European Hyperloop Center features a 420-meter-long tunnel constructed from interconnected pipes. These pipes, approximately 2.5 meters wide, facilitate the testing of hyperloop technology.

The tunnel’s design aims to minimize air resistance, achieved by removing the majority of air from within the tunnel. This enables vehicles to be propelled using magnetic systems, potentially reaching speeds of up to 1,000 kilometers per hour. 

A notable feature of the center is incorporating a “lane switch,” allowing for testing vehicle maneuverability at high speeds and enhancing the understanding of hyperloop dynamics.

The center’s director, Sascha Lamme, envisions a future where hyperloop technology facilitates the creation of an extensive network across Europe by 2050. He emphasizes the technology’s scalability, suggesting the possibility of significantly reduced travel times between major cities such as Amsterdam and Barcelona.

“We have made something that is very scalable. It can go very quickly. So it should really be possible to get into a station in Amsterdam and travel to a city like Barcelona in two hours,” Lamme said in a statement with AFP.

“Just like you do with an airplane, but without all the hassle.” 

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Upcoming Vehicle Tests in the Hyperloop Center

The Dutch-based firm Hardt Hyperloop is set to commence initial vehicle tests in the coming weeks. The center will be open to companies actively engaged in hyperloop technology development. 

However, Lamme acknowledges that considerable research and development remain before hyperloop technology can be deemed ready for passenger use.

Although hyperloop technology has attracted attention since its inception in Elon Musk’s 2013 proposal, practical implementation has faced numerous challenges. Despite ongoing research and testing, full-scale passenger operations are not anticipated until 2030 the earliest.

Supporters of hyperloop technology emphasize its potential environmental benefits, including reduced energy consumption and minimal noise pollution. However, critics raise concerns regarding the feasibility and passenger experience of traveling at high speeds through narrow tunnels.

Marinus Van der Meijs, technology and engineering director at Hardt Hyperloop, highlights the Hyperloop system’s efficiency and minimal infrastructure footprint. Nonetheless, questions persist regarding the comfort and safety of passengers during high-speed travel.

“The energy consumption of the hyperloop as a transportation mode is much lower (than others),” Marinus Van der Meijs said in a statement to AFP. “It also requires less space to operate because we have these tubes that can easily be placed underground or elevated. So we have a lower infrastructure footprint” 

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