October 21, 2020

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Hyperloop Technologies – Zeleros’ vision for the sustainable fifth method of transportation

Zeleros has gone from being a competition-winning university team to becoming a cutting-edge start-up bringing the exciting Hyperloop concept to market.

OpenGov Asia recently had to the opportunity to speak with Luiz Navarro, Chief Operating Officer, Zeleros. Watch the whole interaction on OpenGov TV here!

Mr Navarro explained how the hyperloop concept is not a new concept, but in fact, it dates back to almost over 200 years when a connection was sought to make a trading route from the UK to India. There were many ideas and early-stage concepts for this but a lot of them failed as they did not have the technology to deploy them.

But fast forward 200 years to the age of Elon Musk and SpaceX – he took this concept and rebranded the Hyperloop idea. He came up with this worldwide concept under the umbrella SpaceX and invited start-ups and universities to come up with ideas and technology proposals for the Hyperloop.

He went on to tell us that one of those working hard on this concept at the time was the Zeleros Founders and former University graduates in Valencia. They had competed in various competitions and won many awards in this field of expertise.

They were team leaders at “Hyperloop UPV”, University project awarded at SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition in 2015, an event organized by Elon Musk, competing against world’s most prestigious engineering universities. Recently, the team achieved top 10 at the SpaceX competition in Los Angeles from among more than 300 teams worldwide. Their prototype “The Atlantic II” became the first Spanish hyperloop in history, combining autonomous propulsion with a new passive levitation system.

From the success and recognition of the technology at the research stage and in the competitive arena, they have decided to take a step forward and launch a new start-up to revolutionise ground transportation: Zeleros

Now a few years later, they have 25 people working full time collaborating with first-class collaborators internationally. This business started with three guys being courageous and having the passion to take the leap from research and competitions to bringing their business to market. Zeleros is one in six companies in the world that are working on deploying Hyperloop into the market.

The aim of Zeleros is to design and develop new hyperloop technologies to achieve a more efficient and sustainable transportation, which will allow to travel at 1000 km/h with renewable energies, combining the best from the aeronautics and the railway industries by means of a system of depressurized tubes.

The Future – leading the way in the development of hyperloop technologies

The Zeleros vision is to bring this to the next stage. By simplifying systems bring the power onboard the vehicle and reducing the cost of infrastructure call staff they are looking at taking away the complexity from the track

With this cutting-edge technology, there is a lot of work to do before realising the finished product. Currently, they are prototyping each subsystem which includes propulsion, levitation, braking etc.

By 2021 they hope to have a prototype ready which is 1/3 of the scale, 10 metres in length and running on a 3-kilometre test run at approximately 500 kilometres per hour so that they are able to validate the technology.

By 2024 they hope to start construction and by 2030 they hope to have the first fully operational Hyperloop working. In order to reach this final stage, there is a lot of fine-tuning and validation involved and they need to meet standards be certified.

They have partnered with countries such as Canada and France and they are working closely with the EU. They are involved in a technical committee in the EU dedicated to the Hyperloop and falls under the umbrella of the railway industry. The creation of this technical committee has given Hyperloop its own identity.

Regional hotspots for Hyperloop development and deployment

At the moment they are working closely with key players in Europe. This is what they consider where core development takes place. call star it is logical as they are unable to integrate more in terms of infrastructure. Once considered safe in the EU it opens the opportunity to roll out quickly to the rest of the world.

Other hotspots identified are routes in the Middle East. This region is ideal to roll out the technology, where financial support is readily available, which in turn could accelerate the deployment of Hyperloop in this region.

In Asia, Japan has its own technology with the bullet and has invested billions into this national infrastructure so it would not make sense for them to look at investing in the Hyperloop technology.

But in China where they have over more than 35,000 kilometres of real which is more than the rest of the world combined opportunities in this country would really accelerate past to market.

Another great option to consider is to deploy Hyperloop to connect Singapore and Kuala-Lumpur. The potential is great, shortening the travel time until 30 minutes (35 including boarding).

The Hyperloop is an innovative solution in terms of connectivity around the world, mobility, and timesaving travel.

In terms of sustainability, it a real viable alternative to aviation. It presents an opportunity to reduce air traffic congestion which doubles every 15 years. The Hyperloop will reduce 7 million tonnes of CO2 per year compared to air transport.

Mr Navarro jokingly concluded they are “just crazy people trying to change the paradigm of long-distance travel and with the Hyperloop it will be there to serve that purpose”

The company have already won multiple awards but because they are working so hard and so fast on this project, Mr Navarro said they sometimes have little time to appreciate the things that they have achieved so far.

Watch the whole interaction on OpenGov TV here!