© Royal IHC

Hardt & Royal IHC: innovation and integration

Hardt Hyperloop
Sep 29, 2018 · 4 min read

The bar is high and time is of the essence. Increased urbanisation, divesting of our fossil fuel reliance and improving quality of life for all citizens are urgent concerns for both governments and business. Hardt is clear in its ambitions to help address these issues by making Hyperloop efficient, sustainable, and accessible for as many people as possible. To reach its goal the company wants to start full high-speed testing as soon as 2021, and to do that it needs stakeholders as versatile, innovative and ambitious as Hardt is.

Hans Greve, is Managing Director Mining & Tunnelling at Royal IHC, a company with a widerange of expertise, combined with a unique approach to tailor-made solutions for new challenges — an ideal partner for Hardt. There is a tangible sense of excitement at Royal IHC about the challenges and prospects the Hyperloop presents.

‘Personally, I’d been attracted to the technology from the outset. I’d heard about the SpaceX Challenge and had been following it. When I heard that the winners had started Hardt, I knew that was something that we should be part of.’ Greve said.

A LITTLE HISTORY

‘Personally, I’d been attracted to the technology from the outset. I’d heard about the SpaceX Challenge and had been following it. When I heard that the winners had started Hardt, I knew that was something that we should be part of.’ Greve said.

‘We’re especially interested in innovations in large infrastructure and equipment’, Greve explained. ‘Our real involvement then started around the time BAM got involved, and it was quickly apparent to all parties that this was a great match.’

DIGGING DOWN

© Royal IHC

Greve himself studied Mining Engineering at Delft University and Imperial College in London. Mining, both wet and dry, is one key area of expertise which Royal IHC brings to the table. Parts of the new Hyperloop route will need to be underground, in places perhaps only a few metres and in others up to 30 metres below the surface.

‘Our expertise in excavation technology, building foundations, and handling large diameter pipes are good for both underground and overground needs’, Greve explained. The company is expert in working around existing infrastructure and even building new fit-to-purpose machinery from scratch. As both safety and sustainability are paramount in Royal IHC’s process for project development, the partners also have an ethical perspective in common.

CHALLENGES

Greve: ‘We’re not quite sure what challenges the project will hold yet, because we’re just at the start of it all. But the concept of the Hyperloop means that the pipe itself will be one of the most costly factors. Building the Hyperloop infrastructure needs to be costeffectiveand we’ll be looking at innovative ways to reduce costs.’

There is a lot of knowledge about materials in the group, so Royal IHC will be looking at various forms of concrete and other potential materials to find which is best suited for the main body of the Hyperloop.

‘What TATA will be doing for steel, we will be doing for the underground tube. We need all the technologies that are available to make the project work as a whole, it has to be integrated. That’s why partnerships are so important.’ And in addition to investigating the best materials to use for the pipes, Greve and his colleagues will be involved in working out how to safely increase the speed of construction.

FUTURE FOCUSSED

Greve and the team at Royal IHC are also excited about how quickly the project is already accelerating.

© Royal IHC

“The even more interesting phase for us will be the next one, where we start designing the high-speed test facility with Hardt. Of course it needs to be built at minimum cost but also in such a way that it can be used for multi functional testing.” At an estimated cost of 120 million euro, the new high-speed, 5 kilometre long facility, planned for Flevoland, will need full commitment from all stakeholders including the Dutch government, according to TNO.

Former Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment, Schultz van Haegen was quick to commission a full report that covered cost estimates but also the social benefits the facility would bring, including: up to 400 local jobs, making The Netherlands the central hub for international testing, as well as the future centre of a European Hyperloop network, and allowing for the realisation of a technology that could have a significant positive impact on global climate goals.

An important element of the new plan is that the high-speed facility will be the first of its kind in the world. Not only technically, but also in that it will be used by Hyperloop developers from around the world for the better sharing of knowledge. As Hardt move towards making Hyperloop a standardised, commercial technology international collaborators will likely include: Transpod (Canada, with offices in Italy and France), Zeleros Hyperloop (Spain), Hyper Land (Poland).

For Greve this is the single most exciting element of the project:

‘Getting all these different people and technologies involved in the project. I myself, am an engineer but the cooperation between all these different people makes for so much fun. The Hardt team has so much energy, enthusiasm and offers new perspectives, theythink in different ways to our senior engineers. With Hardt you get completely out of the box thinking.’

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