Linear Induction Motor Drive for Traction and Levitation in Sustainable Hyperloop Systems
According to the Swiss strategy on mobility (“Avenir de la mobilité en Suisse, Cadre d’orientation 2040 du DETEC”), future transportation systems should be sustainable, efficient and based on light infrastructures. While this strategy is aligned with global trends in the transportation sector, it poses several technical challenges.
A promising solution are high-speed trains, notably based on Hyperloop technology. Composed of two main elements, an electric vehicle and a controlled environment confined infrastructure, the Hyperloop has the potential to disrupt intra-continental travels, while being sustainable at the same time. While high-speed solutions, such as Maglev, exist, the cost of their infrastructure is prohibitive as it requires an active and sophisticated rail.
Swisspod’s efforts focus on flipping the Maglev concept by integrating the energy reservoir in the vehicle propelled by an optimally-designed Linear Induction Motor (LIM) that makes the infrastructure passive. The major limitation of an energy-autonomous vehicle is its range. Since current battery energy densities cap at a few hundreds of Wh/kg, the autonomy is limited by mass constraints and the efficiency of LIMs. The LIM is a good candidate for high-speed travel when compared to its rotating equivalent.
However, current LIM solutions are known to be less energy efficient and have a lower power factor than rotating motors. Those limitations are associated with LIM’s finite length. Although nowadays Power Electronics (PE) make available efficient power converters, the use of conventional solutions faces fundamental challenges to reach high-speeds. The goal of this project is to overcome these limits.