Solar powered Hyperloop system could be coming to city near you

An eco-friendly version of the Hyperloop network is in the works, powered by a skin of solar-powered modules and wind turbine forests, and complete with parks and urban farming spaces.

Hyperloop is the superfast, cutting edge transport technology first envisaged by business magnate Elon Musk. It’s designed to transport people through low-pressure steel tubes at speeds to match a typical passenger aircraft.

The new sustainable design, by Chinese architects MAD, is made in collaboration with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and aims to create “enhanced connectivity between cities and people”, the team says.

The transportation tunnels, MAD says, will be fitted with “bendable solar panel skin modules” that will power the Hyperloop itself and interactive information boards.

Meanwhile, bladeless wind turbine forests will also be built along the Hyperloop system — a move the designers hope will generate power for the transportation network and lower the project’s energy costs.

The Hyperloop system itself will be built almost 7 meters above the ground — keeping the structure out of the way of other road traffic, and freeing the land up for other use.

As well as raised green walkways along the tunnel roof, designers have planned parks and recreation areas in the spaces below.

Architects have also embedded urban farming opportunities within the design, incorporating crop growing facilities at the base of each fiber glass pylon to create a “truly organic infrastructure.”

The designers haven’t yet revealed where the Hyperloop would be built, but said the structure could be adapted to fit in “a bustling city center to rural farmland to the remote desert.”

Big companies are investing serious money into projects to get Hyperloop — both literally and figuratively — off the ground, with pilot tubes being erected in Dubai’s deserts and futuristic pods unveiled in European warehouses. Hyperloop has been proposed for many cities, but turning the concept into a real-life mode of transport is proving a long process.

Earlier this year, a spokesman for Virgin Hyperloop One told CNN that the company hoped to have a service up and running by 2029, and experts predict that the concept could be a reality by 2030.

CNN’s Francesca Street contributed to this report.