Broad support for investment in a hyperloop test facility
In a letter directed to the Dutch Parliament and the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, a wide coalition of Dutch companies and organizations have called today for a one time investment in a hyperloop test facility in the province of Flevoland. The coalition sees this test site as an important asset in the positioning of the Netherlands as an international tech hotspot. The development of this revolutionary transportation system offers many new opportunities for Dutch businesses, and has benefits for the accessibility and sustainability of the Netherlands.
Businesses and organizations in the coalition are hoping for this new technology to be considered in the budget plan of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in order to acquire the necessary resources to develop a 5 kilometer test facility. Some notable backers of the proposal include BAM, Havenbedrijf Rotterdam, Movares, NLR, NS, ProRail, Provincie Flevoland, Royal IHC and UNStudio.
The wide support for investment in the hyperloop project can in many ways be attributed to the recent government agreement ‘Vertrouwen in de Toekomst‘, which prioritizes amongst other things, the development of innovative and green transport solutions as well as the R&D facilities to facilitate such innovations. Besides that the TNO report ‘Hyperloop in the Netherlands’ that came out last month is very positive about societal and economical benefits of a test facility for Flevoland.
The TNO report also indicates that a test facility of this magnitude, spanning 5 kilometers, would cost up to 120 million euros. This planned test facility would be the first of its kind in which parts from the hyperloop trajectory could be tested prior to their commercial application. It is therefore expected that businesses from around the world will be drawn to the Netherlands to perform such tests. This opens up new possibilities for the Netherlands in becoming the knowledge hub for this new technology and of course benefiting from all associated economic spin- offs that this hub might bring.
Anne-Wil Lucas from StartupDelta strongly supports the project, commenting: “The building of this test facility and the support of such knowledge building in the Netherlands, could allow the Netherlands to place itself as the starting point for a European hyperloop system. This is a unique opportunity. We could be looking at a global future with hyperloops, a transport revolution starting in the Netherlands. That’s why now is the time to be ambitious.”
In a hyperloop, people and goods can travel at a speed of more than one thousand kilometers per hour through tubes with minimum air resistance. The hyperloop infrastructure will not be subject to sound or environmental taxes. Integrated solar panels will offer the necessary energy to power the technology. Transport via the hyperloop is therefore potentially faster, cleaner and cheaper than a train or an airplane. More importantly, clean and fast forms of (public) transport, that can be integrated with innovative door to door solutions could be absolutely crucial in determining our quality of life in near future.
Hyperloop technology is rapidly gaining momentum. Many countries in Europe are already considering building hyperloop test facilities. Meanwhile, a hyperloop market is in the making, now focusing on the testing of levitation technology, hyperloop tracks, switches and control mechanisms. For now, the only hyperloop company to exist in Europe is the Dutch startup Hardt Hyperloop, which is made up of Delft University students who won this January Elon Musk’s 2017 Hyperloop competition. Hardt Hyperloop is widely supported by BAM, Dutch Railways, Delft University of Technology and UNIIQ.