Steel makers Tata Steel in Europe and POSCO from South Korea will collaborate to develop and test cutting-edge steels and tube designs. The innovative steel concepts will be used to create a hyperloop – a tube big enough to carry a passenger or freight pod able to travel at more than 1,000kmh while using very little energy.
Steel is an essential material in building the infrastructure needed for the hyperloop, including the tubes through which it would travel. The giant steel tubes required for the hyperloop have numerous unique features compared with normal tubes. For instance, they need to allow the passenger or freight vehicle inside to travel in a low-pressure environment – where air is removed to reduce resistance and minimise energy usage – as well as retaining straightness over long distances.
Combining technical expertise
Tata Steel and POSCO will develop high quality steel grades which are tailored for use in these large diameter tubes – up to 3.5m. Additionally, the companies will join their efforts in research on innovative tube concepts and designs.
Speaking after the collaboration documents were signed in a virtual ceremony, Ernst Hoogenes, Chief Technical Officer at Tata Steel, said: “Globally, hyperloops hold a lot of potential for the future of high-speed sustainable transport, and these are very exciting projects. This is an important part of our ambitions towards decarbonisation.
“We are delighted to join forces with POSCO. Pooling our joint technical expertise will enable us to scale up our innovation efforts and give our customers the cutting-edge products they need to be successful.”
Dr Duk-Lak Lee, Head of Technical Research Laboratories at POSCO, said: “POSCO has been conducting hyperloop-related research such as feasibility, design and structural optimisation of various types of steel tubes for more than 10 years, and has developed optimal steel materials and design solutions in terms of structural stability and economic efficiency. This will contribute to realising hyperloop as the future eco-friendly transportation method.”
Working towards the future of mobility
As society opts for low-carbon cars and contemplates mass transport options such as the radical hyperloop, steel will continue to play a major part in ensuring the mobility choices of the future are safe, affordable and sustainable.