Evacuated tube transport technologies (ET3):a maximum value global transportation network for passengers and cargo, published in Journal of Modern Transportation, Volume 19, Number 1, March 2011, Page 42-50 Journal homepage: jmt.swjtu.edu.cn
Evacuated Tube Transport Technologies (ET3) offers the potential for more than an order of magnitude improvement in transportation efficiency, speed, cost, and effectiveness. An ET3 network may be optimized to sustainably displace most global transportation by car, ship, truck, train, and jet aircraft. To do this, ET3 standards should adhere to certain key principals: maximum value through efficiency, reliability, and simplicity; equal consideration for passenger and cargo loads; optimum size; high speed/high frequency operation; demand oriented; random accessibility; scalability; high granularity; automated control; full speed passive switching; open standards of implementation; and maximum use of existing capacities, materials, and processes.
Yaoping Zhang one of the authors is at Xijing University.
Research conducted by the Traction Power State Key Laboratory at the Southwest Jiaotong University, successfully developed a vacuum magnetic suspension train model able to run at between 600 (372.8 mph) and 1,200 (745.6 mph) kilometers per hour, equal to the speed of a plane, according to Shuai Bin, vice dean of the university’s Traffic School.
* ET3 can provide 50 times more transportation per kWh of electricity than the most efficient electric cars or trains.
* ET3 is networked like freeways, except the capsules are automatically routed from origin to destination.
* Speed in initial ET3 systems is 600 km/h (370 mph) for local trips.
ET3 claims that they can be built for 1/10 the cost of High Speed Rail (HSR), or 1/4 the cost of a freeway.
* This will be developed to 6 500 km/h (4 000 mph) for international travel that will allow passenger or cargo travel from New York to Beijing in 2 hours.
* Velocity may even extend to that of a rocket in future
• ET3 power supply requirements are advantageous by several orders of magnitude. Once the ET3 capsules reach top speed, they coast without further power application. By contrast, HSR requires 12 MW power supply along the entire guideway.
• Much of the electrical energy used to accelerate the capsules can be recovered when the capsules slow down (Energy Recovery System), the energy may be used to accelerate outbound capsules, stored in a flywheel, or used in the power distribution grid.
• Because ET3 uses electrical energy and the consumption per passenger/mile is less than 1% of an electric train at the same speed, ET3 will not have a negative impact on air quality if renewable sources are used.
ET3 can use any type of maglev. The cost will be less than 1/10 the cost of using maglev to levitate 100-ton trains. ET3 capsule weight per unit of length is less than 1/15 that of a train so much less material is needed for ET3.
The High Temperature Superconductive Maglev (HTSM) invented by Professor Wang at Southwest Jiaotong University (SWJTU) and preferred for use in ET3 has safety and cost advantages compared with other maglev systems.
The first passenger HTSM developed at SWJTU in China is safely carrying thousands of passengers without failure. The prototype will maintain levitation for more than 6 hour on a single coolant charge. It takes less than $5 worth of liquid nitrogen to charge the prototype. Because ET3 operates in a vacuum, the HTS material will absorb less heat and require less coolant than the first prototype HTSM developed in China.
To reduce the vehicle cost of HTSM some of the HTS material can be replaced with Permanent Magnet (PM).
The optimum vacuum level for ET3 is selected to minimize transportation cost, at some point the reduction in aerodynamic drag energy is offset by vacuum production energy. This optimum varies according to use factor and design speed. Minimizing leaks minimizes vacuum energy requirements. Coating and sealing technologies have developed to the point that leakage is virtually eliminated. A vacuum level in the range of 10 microbars down to 100 nanobars is estimated to be a sufficient range for most ET3 branches. Particle accelerator experts agree that the vacuum requirements for ET3 are easy to achieve and maintain compared with the high grade vacuum needed by linear accelerators or cyclotrons / synchrotrons
ET3 can accomplish 50 times more transportation per kWh than the most efficient electric car or train. Also, ET3 can reduce infrastructure cost up to two orders of magnitude.
ET3 capsules weigh only 183 kg (400 lbs), yet like an automobile, can carry up to six people or 367 kg (800 lbs) of cargo. Compared to high-speed-rail (HSR) trains, ET3 needs less than 1/20 as much material per passenger because the capsules are so light. Automated passive switching at the full design speed allows a 600 km/h ET3 route to exceed the capacity of a 40 lane freeway thus producing further economy.
A 550 kg ETT module going 900 kilometers per hour (550 mph) would need the same energy as a forty ton truck going about 70 mph.
Population and production centers connected by a global ET3 “backbone”
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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