Sus­tain­able trans­port

Identity - - SUSTAINABILITY - TEXT: STEVE HILL

Pro­pos­als have been un­veiled for a Euro­pean hyperloop, Ja­panese ar­chi­tect Kengo Kuma has de­signed the first Star­bucks in the Asia Pa­cific re­gion to be built from re­cy­cled ship­ping con­tain­ers, and Mercedes-Benz has fea­tures sus­tain­ably pro­duced ve­gan ma­te­ri­als.

UNS­tu­dio has un­veiled pro­pos­als for a Euro­pean hyperloop which would pro­vide a sus­tain­able and emis­sions-free alternative to air travel be­tween ma­jor cities.

The Dutch ar­chi­tec­tural prac­tice used the first edi­tion of Hyper­Sum­mit, which took place in Utrecht, to re­veal a grand vi­sion for the con­ti­nent, be­gin­ning with a route be­tween Am­s­ter­dam and Frank­furt.

Rail pas­sen­gers typ­i­cally take four hours to travel the 450 kilo­me­tres be­tween the two cities but hyperloop tech­nol­ogy – pro­pel­ling pas­sen­gers in mag­net-pow­ered cap­sules in a vac­uum tube at speeds of be­tween 600 and 1000 km per hour – would re­duce this jour­ney to only 50 min­utes.

UNS­tu­dio be­lieves the key to the project is the de­sign of mod­u­lar hyperloop hubs which would act as bat­ter­ies for so­lar en­ergy pro­duced by each sta­tion.

The com­pany states: “This could bring about a shift away from de­pen­dency on cen­tralised power plants and to­wards en­ergy stor­age that con­nects to lo­cal mi­cro-grids.

“Sur­plus en­ergy pro­duced at the trans­fer hubs and along hyperloop’s tubes would power the au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles, buses and bi­cy­cles which pas­sen­gers can switch to in or­der to com­plete their jour­ney.

“The sta­tion then be­comes a bat­tery which reg­u­lates the highs and lows of the so­lar­pow­ered sys­tem, as well as reg­u­lat­ing its in­ter­nal en­vi­ron­ment through high-per­for­mance ma­te­ri­als which re­spond to chang­ing heat, light and hu­mid­ity lev­els within.”

UNS­tu­dio founder Ben van Berkel added: “The hyperloop is not only a re­al­is­tic and vi­able alternative to fly­ing, it is go­ing to rev­o­lu­tionise travel.

“It will pro­vide ex­tremely fast travel times with di­rect con­nec­tions be­tween cities, en­abling com­pletely new ways of work­ing and spend­ing our leisure time, which in turn will lead to a mul­ti­tude of eco­nomic, en­vi­ron­men­tal and knowl­edge ex­change ben­e­fits.”

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