A large-scale technology development is now progressing. The technology concerns a next-generation high-speed transport system (AeroTrain). The developers are Prof. Kohama (Tohoku University, New Industry Creation Hatchery Center) et al. The performances of AeroTrain are far superior to those of Shinkansen and Linear Motor Car. It should be noted that the transport system is designed based on the concept of eco-friendly. He is quite willing to devote his technology ability and talent to realizing the eco-friendly society. The transport system will go into real service in 2020. The research/development of the AeroTrain is being made in part of the NEDO project. During and in connection with the development, a magnesium fuel cell was developed.
The high-speed transport system has wings, and flies at the height of 10 cm above the ground and at the speed of 500 km/h, while moving within and along a train guideway, which is U-shaped in cross section. The transport system uses well combination of the principle of flotation and the ground effect. This causes the train to take a minimum running resistance, and results in reduction of the energy consumption by the train and allowing use of the small powering source of the train. In addition, flame-retardant magnesium alloy (Mg-Al-Ca, developed by AIST) is used for making the train body. Use of the alloy also contributes to the running resistance reduction. Those reasons enable the electric power generated by using renewable-energy based power generators, such as solar battery and wind power, to power the train. The guideways for the transport system may be constructed in the space along and above the existing railways or roads. This leads to reduction of the construction cost of the AeroTrain guideways.
ART003 (AeroTrain movie): It succeeded in the first manned flight on June 22, 2011. Max. speed = 200 km/h, No. of passenger = 2, energy consumption = 35 kCal/man/km. Train body = 400 kg, and AUW ([all-up weight] = 530 kg. Fuel consumption amount = less than the half of that by Shinkansen, and = less than 1/5 of that by Linear Motor Car. The train body is made of flame-retardant magnesium alloy. (modified old article)If interesting, please go to here.