Engineering Consulting:

Impact of Hyperloop on fuel economy and current transportation industry for a crude oil company

Project  : Collaborative
Role : Engineering Consultant.
Summary

I worked with a professional engineering consultant (Dr. Phani Gadde) as an assistant consultant to research about the impact of entry of Hyperloop in the transportation industry and how it will affect the fuel industry. The research spanned various domains ranging from applications of hyperloop technology, its impact on human travel and freight  transport, potential hyperloop projects etc. 

Impact of Hyperloop
  • If costs are relatively close to the alpha document, travel could become significantly affordable, leading to a transformation of cities

  • It is estimated that 7% of US GDP is foregone due to delays and congestion

  • If Hyperloop is successful and finds wide acceptance, it could become an integral part of the on-demand economy alongside self-driving cars and could radically transform transportation

  • Hyperloop infrastructure has the potential to boost average cargo transportation speed by 100-1000%

  • According to studies, nearly 25-40% of trucks are typically empty on return trips, and the average payload per truck is 12-15 tons

  • The Hyperloop competes with truck transport, potentially offering shippers lower costs because of its singular technology

Impact on crude oil industry

​​Assumptions

  • 2 Hyperloops get built by 2025 and 10 are in operation by 2030 across the globe

  • One barrel of oil yields 0.3 barrels of diesel, 0.45 gallons of gasoline and 0.1 barrels of jet fuel

  • The city pairs are 400 miles apart and have an average of 150 round trip flights, 10 trains and 150,000 round trip vehicles traveling per day between the cities

  • Hyperloop prices are very competitive and allow for disrupting air and rail traffic by 50% and reduce road trips by 10%

 

Crude impact

Based on the above aggressive assumptions, crude displacement of approximately 80,000 b/d and 400,000 b/d can be expected by 2025 and 2030 respectively.

Critical analysis of costs involved
  • Tunneling is required for the Hyperloop route where extreme local gradients are greater than 6% and can be expensive.

  • The alpha document estimated 24.2 km of tunneling. Estimations state tunnel construction will amount to $600 million ($24.8 million per km).

  • Hyperloop tunneling costs will be much less than those of the CHRS due to the much smaller bore size needed. As a result, less concrete reinforcements will be needed

  • Experts suggest that tunneling for the Hyperloop could be done with a custom horizontal directional drilling (HDD) unit. While the largest used till date can only bore out 64% of the required Hyperloop diameter, a custom unit could be built.

  • Adding the cost of custom larger boring machines, it is suggested the total tunneling costs will be around $1.5-3.0 billion

Potential Hyperloop projects
  • In March 2016, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies inked a deal with the Slovakian government to explore building two Hyperloops that would link three European cities. Vienna to Bratislava would be an eight-minute trip covering 35 miles, while Bratislava to Budapest would cover 100 miles in 10 minutes.

  • A route between Moscow and St. Petersburg is being studied. Russian Railways and Hyperloop One have created a working group to study the concept. The project has been backed by Gordon Atlantic, an international economic development service operator.

  • German Bahn subsidiary DB E & C, which specializes in engineering and consultancy is conducting a Hyperloop-feasibility study for the freight in the Middle East region potentially including  Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar

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