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Hardt is to receive finance from NS Innovatiefonds and UNIIQ investment fund to help develop a new transport system. Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp announced the investment during a homecoming event for the TU Delft team. The team won the Hyperloop pod competition organised by Elon Musk in Los Angeles on 29 January this year.

NS-innovatiefonds-and-UNIIQ-invest-in-Hardt-to-help-develop-HyperloopF.l.t.r.: Henk Kamp (Minister of Economic Affairs), Roger van Boxtel (NS), Tim Houter (Hardt), Rinke Zonneveld (InnovationQuarter), Tim van der Hagen (TU Delft) © Daniel Verkijk

Speed of an airplane, convenience of a train

The Delft Hyperloop team was the big winner of the SpaceX Hyperloop race held in the US in January. Four of the project’s founders are to continue under the name ‘Hardt’ to make Hyperloop a reality within the foreseeable future. In the coming years, Hardt will develop a high-speed ground transport system in an air tube through which capsules, or pods, will take passengers to their destination in a fraction of the time that it currently takes. Hyperloop offers the prospect of travelling at the speed of an airplane but with the convenience of a train.

High speed and environmentally friendly

In addition to the time saved, the system will also be cleaner than conventional means of transport. Whereas airplanes and cars emit pollutants and are propelled by fossil fuels, Hyperloop is powered by solar energy and is thus self-sufficient. The pod glides above a track courtesy of magnetic fields, which means that energy loss can be minimised. Solar panels on the tube supply the current that moves the pod along the track. As there is no air pressure in the specially developed vacuum tubes, the pod can reach speeds of 1,200 km/h.

SpaceX’s Hyperloop pod competition

The Delft Hyperloop team, consisting of 30 TU Delft students, came first in the final of the SpaceX Hyperloop race. Founded by Elon Musk, the competition took place in Los Angeles on 29 January. Musk aims to use the competition to encourage the development of a revolutionary form of fast and energy-efficient transport that could carry people and goods through near-vacuum tubes at a speed of up to 1,200 km/h. The Delft Hyperloop team, which competed against 27 other teams from around the world, received first prize for ‘best design and performance’. The prototype managed to reach a speed of 93 km/h in the 1.25-kilometre-long pilot tunnel.

NS Innovatiefonds and UNIIQ invest in Hardt to help develop HyperloopV.l.n.r.: Paul Althuis (TU Delft), Tim Houter (Hardt), Liduina Hammer (UNIIQ), Rinke Zonneveld (InnovationQuarter), Tim van der Hagen (TU Delft), Rolph Segers (TU Delft), Henk Kamp (Minister of Economic Affairs) © Daniel Verkijk

“It’s our ambition to build a fully operational test track within the next four years,” says Hardt Chief Executive Officer Tim Houter. “Together, as a country, we will lift global mobility to a new level and the Netherlands to the top in the field of innovative technology. The seed capital provided by UNIIQ, Delft Enterprises and NS Innovatiefonds will certainly accelerate momentum for a new era of transport,” explains Houter.

Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp: “The development of the Hyperloop by TU Delft students is a great example of how Dutch innovative thinking can contribute to addressing a global issue. When such knowledge is indeed transformed into actual products or services, it has a positive impact on our economy. I’m therefore pleased that, at this point, I may not only congratulate the team on its victory but can also announce that the Ministry of Economic Affairs will offer its support to future teams as well as Hardt, the startup launched today, to further develop their innovative ideas.”

“NS Innovatiefonds contributes to innovation in mobility by investing in startups,” says Maurice Unck, Director of Commerce and Development at NS. “With investment from NS Innovatiefonds, as a startup Hardt can continue to successfully develop Hyperloop technology. For us, it is very attractive to contribute to these new developments, partly because of the potential spin-offs for the rail sector.”

NS Innovatiefonds and UNIIQ invest in Hardt to help develop Hyperloop 
Paul Althuis, Managing Director of Delft Enterprises: “Over the last ten years, in addition to encouraging technological innovations, TU Delft has put a lot of effort into broadening students' horizons. One of the outcomes is the D-Dream Hall, a hangar where dozens of students work in teams on various projects. This year alone, our teams have entered 14 competitions. Delft Hyperloop is a fine example. The team behind it recently won Elon Musk’s Hyperloop pod competition in the US – a great achievement. Four of the team members want to transfer the knowledge and experience they gained into a startup, Hardt. As TU Delft is keen to support these types of entrepreneurial ventures, we want to help them with an investment through our holding company, Delft Enterprises.”

UNIIQ Fund Manager Liduina Hammer: “We are delighted to invest in the team that delivered such a great performance at the international Hyperloop competition. With investment from NS Innovatiefonds and UNIIQ, Hardt will be able to further develop this technology, which is set to change the future of transport.”