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Technology Description

The hyperloop concept was advanced in an open source paper by Elon Musk, Tesla co-founder. It has been described as a completely alternative transport mode to aircraft, ships, road or rail, and is based on three key components: carriages levitating magnetically or by air; linear motor propulsion, initially proposed as compressed air propulsion; and a vacuum-based enclosure to dramatically reduce air friction. A number of companies since then have developed alternative technology designs based on the fundamental principles of the hyperloop, for instance using electromagnetic propulsion. Hyperloop variants remain to be tested at any significant scale.

Relevance for Net Zero

As an alternative to high-speed rail and short-haul aviation it holds promise, but the fundamental hurdles of the technology and the early TRL mean this technology is of a low priority relative to other abatement options in the NZE.

Key Countries

Europe, US

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