The Next Generation of Freight Transport
Long before 'stimulus' became a taboo word among politicians, the U.S. Federal Government put Americans to work building engineering marvels that cemented the United States as the greatest nation that has ever existed. Chief among these programs was the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which employed millions of Americans during the Great Depression and remains the largest public works program in U.S. history. And what our forefathers accomplished through the WPA and other New Deal programs has yet to be matched, providing jobs and infrastructure access to millions. While we may have lost touch with the American tradition of Infrastructure Innovation in recent years, we at Transonic believe that the Innovative Spirit and American Work Ethic that made these programs successful still exists. That is why we hope to continue this tradition of creating engineering marvels by modernizing rail infrastructure using pre-existing technology to provide quicker, more convenient freight transportation.
How does it work?
In essence, Automated Tube Transport (ATT) is the purest form of freight transport physically available to us today. The system eliminates all forms of contact friction, skin drag, form drag, etc. to allow each individual pod to use a minimal amount of energy to travel between two points. This is done by using an enclosed environment in the form of a high-strength tube and then vacuum pumps to evacuate the environment of air pressure. Once this is done, the pods (suspended by a mag-lev system) are accelerated using a linear induction motor at 1G. This means that for every second that the capsule is accelerating, it is traveling roughly 21mph faster than the previous second until the pod reaches a target cruising speed of 600mph.
For this system Transonic will use a High-Strength 10'D Tube, which will be partially evacuated in a closed loop system. The system will be designed for optimal air flow around the capsule, improving performance and energy consumption at the targeted travel speed of 600mph. ASCE, AISC, U.S. DOT, and FRA Code & Regulations will be be taken into consideration, with final designs being submitted to relevant regulatory agencies for final approval. Given that Transonic's tube sections will use an improved high-strength material, Transonic can implement Tube-Based Infrastructure in a fraction of the time. Operating pressure for this system will be rated at 0.6psia, which will reduce air pressure by 96%.
The propulsion system will use a LIM (Linear Induction Motor) to accelerate the capsule to cruise speeds, and maintain velocity along the length of the track.
By using two 10’D tubes for two-way traffic, we are allowed an area of 22ft wide for upwards of hundreds of miles. With solar panels expected to produce 7.5MWh/Mile at peak solar activity (more than is needed to power the LIM & vacuum pumps) the power architecture will include a battery array at each accelerator to collect excess energy. These arrays will store excess power that can be drawn from during non-peak periods to ensure that the system remains fully functional regardless of weather conditions. For the acceleration system used in most HSR projects, we see how a LIM would be able to work in conjunction with a solar power system to draw energy and accelerate a pod forward. Our LIM design draws influence from the Seraphim-200 LIM design first proposed in 1995 by Sandia National Laboratories due to its ability to recover upwards of 80% of energy originally passing through the capacitors. For more information on the Seraphim-200 Linear Induction Motor, follow this link.
For our mag-lev motors, we will be partnering with Arx-Pax to integrate their MFA Technology for capsule levitation. For more information, follow this link to their website.
The interior of the capsule is designed with freight volume optimization in mind. With potential payload capacities upwards of 17.5 Tons, Transonic will be able to transport a healthy amount of freight per capsule. Other features to be included in the freight car can include freight cooling and cabin depressurization system. For Model S-01, onboard power will only be used for telemetry, braking, & stability. Suspension will be recessed into the pod and will support the magnetic levitation system. The open face of the magnets will be flush with the bottom of the pod capsule and will allow the levitation system to achieve an operating height of 0.5”.