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Provincial government submits bid to host test center for hyperloop technology

By Lim Chang-won Posted : July 18, 2022, 16:18 Updated : July 18, 2022, 16:18

[Courtesy of South Gyeongsang Province]

SEOUL -- A provincial government has submitted a bid for South Korea's state project to establish a test center for the research and demonstration of hyperloop technology that allows a vehicle levitated by magnetic force to drive at a maximum speed of 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) per hour.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will decide in August to select a site for the test bed that will conduct research with the goal of driving 800 kilometers per hour on a test track of 12 km following an initial test run of 150-200 km/h in a 2 km section. 

The province of South Gyeongsang said it has submitted a letter of intent to host the test bed in Haman County, some 280 kilometers (174 miles) south of Seoul, saying the county has many research institutes as well as Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), the sole aircraft maker in South Korea, and Hyundai Rotem, a subsidiary of South Korea's Hyundai auto group.  

"The comprehensive hyper tube test center will be an opportunity for South Korea to take a step forward through balanced national development," an unnamed provincial official said in a statement on July 18. 

Hyperloop vacuum tubes are used in a revolutionary bullet train project to transport passengers and cargo in special capsules through reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on an air cushion driven by linear induction motors. Hyperloop vacuum tubes keep airtightness by lowering their inside to less than 1/1,000 atmospheres to minimize the air resistance of an encapsulated vehicle.

Hyperloop technology has been open-sourced by Elon Reeve Musk, a South African-born Canadian-American business magnate and inventor. In 2016, Hyperloop One, a registered SpaceX trademark, carried out its first demonstration of the early stages of the development of the technology. 

in May 2022, South Korea's steel group POSCO was selected to provide 
PosLoop 355, a steel material for hyperloop tubes, to Hardt, a European technology company that has led a hyperloop development program in the Netherlands. The European Hyperloop Center, an open test facility in Veendam in the northeast of the Netherlands, will house a 2.6-kilometer (1.6 miles) test track with a cargo-scale tube of 1.4m diameter.  

Hyperloop tube materials must withstand the vibration and impact generated during high-speed driving. POSCO has participated in a joint study with Tata Steel in the Netherlands to develop steel and structural solutions exclusively for hyperloop tubes at a Dutch hyperloop development program led by Hardt. 


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