Hypership

The concept

The Hypership is an autonomous magnetic and hover train system built to ship merchandise cross-country powered by forests of solar trees. It’s derived from the Vactrain concept from the RAND Corporation and the Hyperloop transportation system devised by Tesla’s Elon Musk.

The background

Back in June 2013, I had the idea of creating a train propelled by an electric turbine that would ride on an cushion of air inside a concrete track. I started working with a student designer named Bing Xio Liu to create sketches of that project, but I had to put the idea on ice because Bing lacked the time to finish the concept.

How it works

The Hypership is a combination of hyper speed and shipping. Its purpose would be to ship merchandise at high speed across the continent by using a combination of magnetic tracks, induction charging, low pressure tubes, and an electric turbine to release the air pressure building up in front of the craft at extremely high speeds. It’s a clever system, and it’s worth investigating. To minimize safety risk and building cost, I would use it initially as a hyper fast shipping system, but it could later carry passengers if it proves to be a workable system.

The power needed to operate the Hypership would come from flexible solar panels fixed on the top of the concrete tube along with forests of solar trees, as depicted in image one. To keep its carbon footprint low, additional power could also come from wind turbines scattered across the line and from hydroelectric power plants. Of course, it could also simply be plugged in the current network and purchase its electricity in real time from the cheapest bidders and (why not) maybe even by some of the land owners.

You can learn more about the technical features of this concept by visiting the links above. It’s an open source project, so anybody can throw in their ideas. I like the idea of Kousha Roudbari, who proposed liquefying part of the air that accumulates at the front of the craft during transit time and selling it back later.If we can move food and product faster across the continent, it will increase our productivity. Technical discoveries will be made faster because it will take less time to ship and receive materials and products.

What it’s used for

The Hypership project will be very expensive to build, but its infrastructure could be designed to last over 100 to 200 years, and spreading its cost over such a long period could make project viable. It would also become a vital military/strategic asset to transport supplies, rolling stock, and equipment from one coast to the other. Last but not least, it could also be used in combination with other vital infrastructure projects (gas or oil pipelines, electricity, communications, etc.) to spread out its capitalization cost.

The designer

I would like to thank Abhishek Roy who created the images of the Hypership. Abhishek is a freelance product designer based in Mumbai, India. Abhishek also created the rendering for the Rakoon snowmobile for teenagers.

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