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Test facility

  • TransPod Half-Scale Test Track in Droux

Project description

Aerial view

The scope of this project is the construction of a research centre aiming to accelerate the development of self-sustaining hyperloop/vacuum train technology. The project will follow a 3-phase construction planning. Firstly, a 1km stretch will be built alongside a service building. Then, the line will be extended up to 2.4km. Finally, a switching mechanism will be installed.

This project will aim to test and demonstrate a prototype of the TransPod transportation system and its internal components. Upon completion of the testing phase, the prototype will be ready to be commercialized along with its internal systems.

Infrastructure

This demonstration centre will be composed of an assembly building and a 3km steel tube. The tube will be 2m-wide and be used to test TransPod’s prototype at very high speeds. The facility will be built on public land provided by the city of Droux in France. The construction permit for the first phase of the project was approved in February 2019. The building will host 20 engineers and researchers and involve the University of Limoges to conduct demonstration work.

As shown on SK 102 (below), the test track will be made up of a steel tube of 2m in diameter supported by steel saddles and concrete piers every 25m. The basic design will be slightly elevated 1m above ground. A partial vacuum will be created inside the tube with a set of vacuum pumps to reduce the drag for the pod vehicle. Expansion Joints (as shown in SK 001) will be installed to prevent leaks, and handle thermal expansion of the structure.

Test vehicle

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The test vehicle will be equipped with all of TransPod’s main subsystems and will be capable of reaching of up to 600 km/h, higher than the current speed record held by the French TGV. The vehicle will operate in a low-pressure environment in order to reduce air friction and achieve a higher efficiency than high-speed trains.

The first patented systems to be tested at high-speeds will be the power transmission, as well as the linear engines. Successful high-speed tests will fundamentally impact the business case of the TransPod system and accelerate global development.

Economic Benefits

This project will have a direct, indirect and induced impact of 41.84 M € on the national economy including 29.05 M € on the economy of Haute-Vienne. The aim is to support public / private investment, by committing large
players like EDF and the European Union and by taking advantage of European and Canadian partnerships.

The site will enhance local economic attractiveness by creating 134 jobs during the construction phases, and
more than 20 permanent direct jobs at TransPod France and the University of Limoges.

The whole project aims in the long term to stimulate growth locally by attracting industrialists, startups and
visitors to a center dedicated to mobility, preparing the competitiveness of tomorrow, and stimulating the entrepreneurial ecosystem.