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Cleveland to Chicago Hyperloop would propel passengers at 700 mph through vacuum-sealed tubes

Posted at 5:40 PM, Mar 10, 2021

CLEVELAND — The group behind the Cleveland Hyperloop project Tuesday unveiling a new design breakthrough in the development of this new form of transportation. So much has focused on the design of the cars that are about 100-feet in length and will be able to travel in essentially vacuum tubes at speeds of up to 700 miles per hour but this announcement has to do with the massive valves that will play a key role in maintaining that pressure.

HyperloopTT the group behind the Cleveland project unveiling the full scale valve that will be able to isolate given sections of the tube for easy re-pressurization either for maintenance or in the event of an emergency. It's 16.5 feet tall, weighing 77,000 pounds and can fully open or close within 30 seconds, the company behind the valve said in a video release.

"It's one of the largest vacuum valves that has ever been built and one of the really amazing things is the amount of force that this valve can withstand," said Ken Harrison, president and CEO of GNB KL Group. “There are 288,000 pounds of force that are applied to the gate of this valve. That's about 72 automobiles or one diesel locomotive."

“Working with HyperloopTT has allowed us to showcase our world-class abilities with vacuum parts and technology,” said Harrison. "We specialize in building specialty valves and chambers for fusion reactors, government science labs, and more, so HyperloopTT’s groundbreaking transportation system is a perfect project for us.”

In most emergency scenarios, capsules will stop at pre-determined emergency stations along the route’s length to exit the capsule and tube infrastructure. As a redundant emergency response option, the HyperloopTT system will isolate sections of the tube for re-pressurization. If the capsule is unable to stop at a pre-defined exit, a lit emergency path in the depressurized tube will lead passengers to emergency hatches to safely exit the infrastructure.

GNB began collaborating with HyperloopTT engineers in 2019. Now complete, the valves will be shipped to the HyperloopTT facility in Toulouse, France, for integration and certification.

“One of the questions we regularly receive regarding our technology is about safety, especially in emergency scenarios,” said Andres De Leon, CEO of HyperloopTT. “These valves, built to safety certification standards by a world-class leader, are an essential part of hyperloop safety, as they allow us to isolate portions of the track in the event maintenance is needed or in the rare case of an emergency.”

HyperloopTT is looking at a line that would connect Cleveland to Chicago in in a half hour and one to Pittsburgh that would take ten minutes. The company first unveiled the concept three years ago this month and is hopeful they can have the Cleveland to Chicago leg of this open and running a decade from now.

This article was written by John Kosich for WEWS.