14 October 2021
It is a clear acknowledgement by the European Commission that the hyperloop is seen as a sustainable means of transport.
Hardt Hyperloop, the supported by EIT InnoEnergy Dutch company working on the development of the hyperloop, has been awarded 15 million euros by the European Commission. It is the first time that a hyperloop company has received such financial support from Brussels. The EIC Accelerator funds were awarded by the European Innovation Council and will help Hardt and its public and private partners to accelerate the development of the hyperloop. This award demonstrates the European Commission's recognition of the hyperloop as an important key to achieving Europe's sustainability goals.
Tim Houter, co-founder of Hardt Hyperloop, sees this investment as a validation: “It's great to have now gained the trust of the European Commission. Their support will help to accelerate the development of a European hyperloop network, bringing us much closer to significant CO2 savings. European cities will be connected smarter, faster and cheaper.”
European Green Deal
This investment fits well with the European Green Deal, which includes hyperloop in the European Commission's strategy for sustainable and smart mobility. (Ref 1, Ref 2). Hyperloop vehicles move autonomously through low-pressure tubes, powered by an entirely electromagnetic propulsion system, making travel with the hyperloop energy-efficient and completely CO2-neutral. The hyperloop thus responds to the growing demand for a sustainable solution to (high-speed) transport for both people and goods.
The granting of this large sum of money will give the current developments of the hyperloop and the European Hyperloop Centre in Groningen a significant boost. "The support from the EU is a major breakthrough," says Houter. "Now that Brussels is also on board, there is support at all levels, regional, national and continental.”
The support from the Dutch Government, the Province and Municipality of Groningen along with early partners such as Dutch Railways, Royal Schiphol Group, steel company Tata Steel and construction company Royal BAM Group, has been important in gaining recognition from Brussels. Hardt Hyperloop works together with these public and private partners in the Hyperloop Development Program (HDP) on the integration of this new modality alongside cars, trains and planes, the drawing up of promising hyperloop routes and the demonstration of the technology in the European Hyperloop Centre. The investors involved from the start such as UNIIQ, TU Delft, EIT InnoEnergy and Koolen Industries have also been invaluable in achieving this award.
The European Hyperloop Center
The European Hyperloop Center is being developed in close collaboration with the Province and Municipality of Groningen and is pivotal because it will demonstrate lane-switching for high-speed hyperloop in 2023. Lane-switching is the key to a hyperloop network that can offer direct journeys without the need for intermediate stops.
A pilot project involving freight transport between the busiest freight hubs in the Netherlands, Amsterdam and Rotterdam, is investigated by companies, governments and network organisations. Houter: “A great next step after the European Hyperloop Center would be to establish a first route in the Netherlands within this decade. If this route is realised in the Netherlands, we will be on track to achieving a broad European hyperloop network that can save 160 Megatonnes of CO2 on an annual basis, more than the entire CO2 emissions of the Netherlands.”