Five questions for… Stefan Marges, European Hyperloop Center, and Ilse Mensink, Hive.Mobility

The European Hyperloop Center is located in the Northern Netherlands. All technological hyperloop concepts will soon be able to be tested and demonstrated in this test facility.

What is the current status of the realization of the European Hyperloop Center and how is the cooperation with the region progressing? Time for a short interview with Stefan Marges from the European Hyperloop Center and Ilse Mensink from Hive.Mobility.

How is the realization of the European Hyperloop Center and the associated test track going?

“The location in Meerstad has been designated in 2019 for the construction of the European Hyperloop Center (EHC)”, says Stefan Marges. “Since then, we have gone through spatial procedures in collaboration with the municipality and the province of Groningen for the careful integration of the test center into the environment. We have noticed that this takes more time than initially thought, and that is why we want to build up temporarily at HUSA in Veendam in a parallel process. This will enable us to start faster with the first test phase. In the summer of this year construction starts and in the fourth quarter of the year the first parts will be assembled in the factory. We will then start installing the parts early next year. We can then carry out the first tests in the summer of 2023.”

Which activities related to the hyperloop are central to you in the coming year?

Stefan: “For the EHC, the start of the construction of the test track in the summer is of course the most important. That still requires a lot of preparatory work on site, but above all engineering of the hyperloop systems such as the pipe, the propulsion and the vehicle. Important for the longer term is the anchoring of the hyperloop in the Groningen ecosystem. The EHC is an open knowledge and test facility, so it is important to involve all parties in the hyperloop value chain to come and test.”

Ilse Mensink continues: “From Hive.Mobility, we strive for a strong connection between the hyperloop and the Northern Netherlands as an important step in the transition to sustainable and smart mobility solutions. For this reason, we have organized several knowledge and network sessions around the hyperloop since 2019. In the coming year we will continue to intensify knowledge sharing from Hive.Mobility and further boost projects on the hyperloop theme together with the EHC.”

What challenges do you see surrounding the development of the hyperloop in which our region can play an important role?

“Ultimately, I see hyperloop as part of a broader mobility transition, in which we will have to look beyond the existing modal mix. But like many transitions, something like this takes time and of course a long-term perspective. We will also have to demonstrate that hyperloop has a place in this transition. The EHC plays an important role in this. The test track has a ‘hyperloop switch’ that we demonstrate at 100 km/h in Phase A and at higher speeds of 300+ km/h in Phase B. This switch is a critical part to build the hyperloop network,” says Stefan.

“In addition, there are plenty of developments that contribute to the success of hyperloop, such as the development of new safety systems, communication systems, control systems, inductive charging systems, linear motors, sensor technology, new sustainable materials and efficient construction methods. Enough points of contact with the companies and knowledge institutions in the region!”

How do you involve companies, knowledge institutions, governments and students in the Northern region in your activities?

Stefan: “Involving companies, knowledge institutions and students is of great importance to the EHC. In this way we like to connect to existing ecosystems such as Hive.Mobility in order to involve parties in the project. The connection with universities and colleges is also important. importance: this year 7 students will graduate on a hyperloop-related assignment via Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen.”

“In addition to sharing knowledge during events and Meet & Greets, we also boost projects and student assignments within our network from Hive.Mobility. We work on the basis of the issues that arise at the EHC and the possibilities that we identify within our Hive network,” says Ilse.

Stefan: “We are also focusing on German-Dutch cooperation. The Hochschule Emden-Leer is also part of the larger Hyperloop Development Programme. Lathen, where the Transrapid test facility is located, also offers opportunities to develop a cross-border hyperloop cluster.”

The EHC and Hive.Mobility work closely together. How do the two organizations reinforce each other?

“Hive.Mobility fits in perfectly with the ambitions of the EHC, so the hyperloop can fit in well with the cluster for innovative mobility. This allows us to strengthen each other: for us, the lines become shorter to, for example, the University of Groningen and Hanze University of Applied Sciences for research, student assignments and challenges, but also through the Meet & Greet events with companies,” says Stefan.

Ilse concludes: “The hyperloop is in line with the ambitions of our region in the field of innovation and sustainability. The hyperloop center fits in well with the close collaboration on the development of smart and green forms of traffic and transport in the Northern Netherlands by companies, knowledge institutions and governments. Hive’s collaboration with EHC is therefore important to connect regional parties to the hyperloop and to further stimulate and strengthen this development.”

Photo: European Hyperloop Center