$550 million obtained to help finance the ultra-fast hyperloop between Edmonton and Calgary
A transportation system that could eventually allow people to travel between Edmonton and Calgary in about 45 minutes has taken another step forward.
Toronto-based TransPod announced Tuesday that it has secured US$550 million in funding for its multi-billion dollar hyperloop system.
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UK-based Broughton Capital Group, in cooperation with China-East Resources Import & Export Co., has agreed in principle to provide combined financing of US$550 million and EPC main agreement, respectively, to accelerate the development of a TransPod line between Edmonton and Calgary.
“To fund the first phase of the project, which consists of the Edmonton airport connection,” said Sébastien Gendron, co-founder and CEO of TransPod.
The high-speed transportation system is being developed to transport passengers and goods in a low-pressure tube environment at 1,000 km/h. Described as a wingless aircraft, the vehicles would be propelled by electric-drive magnetic propulsion, according to the company.
Gendron said this initial investment is a key step in the overall project, as it proves there is a market for it.
“It’s actually a recommendation that we received from financial institutions,” he said. “They were saying we might have the best technology in the world, but if there’s no market, we’re not going to get very far. So this investment is confirming that there is interest to build such an infrastructure.
“We have the momentum and momentum to develop the technology associated with this project. So it’s a key milestone for TransPod, no doubt.
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TransPod said the Master EPC arrangement is expected to involve “significant input” from Canadian contractors.
“As the first and only company to confirm such funding for a multi-billion dollar tube transportation infrastructure project, TransPod is proud of its commitment to driving growth in Alberta through true innovation and partnership. Gendron said.
“Building and operating a TransPod line will help Albertans get around easily, create new jobs and facilitate investment in the region. With the confidence of our investors and the Government of Alberta, we will achieve a shared vision of a progressive, sustainable and growing economy.
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A feasibility study released last year estimated that the project would create up to 140,000 jobs and add $19.2 billion to the region’s GDP over the course of construction.
The study also predicts that subway transportation would make it possible to complete the 300-kilometre trip between Edmonton and Calgary in 45 minutes, at an estimated cost of $90 per person.
“TransPod is an exciting and revolutionary leader for the future of green infrastructure and transportation in Canada and beyond,” said Terry Parker, Executive Director of Building Trades of Alberta. TransPod has partnered with Building Trades of Alberta to leverage its regional expertise to support regional employment development and provide employee training for the TransPod line.
“Not only will this help Canada meet its carbon targets, but the Alberta TransPod project will create thousands of well-paying, community-based jobs for Alberta’s skilled workers, including those in Indigenous communities, women, new Canadians and apprentices,” Parker said. .
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In August 2020, TransPod signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Alberta to support the development of its hyperloop system.
Also on Tuesday, TransPod outlined the next phases of the Alberta project:
- Short term: Research and development; Building permit; environmental assessment; land acquisition (present-2024)
- Medium term: construction of test tracks, high-speed tests and certification (2023-2027)
- Long term: Construction of a full intercity line between Edmonton and Calgary (to begin in 2027)
TransPod is still awaiting approval from the Alberta government and Gendron confirmed that the province has not yet committed any money to the project.
“In the short term, we are waiting for the final approval from the government. We need the green light. I hope we will get it by the summer and as soon as we have the green light, we can establish the disbursement plan for this 500 million dollars”, he explained.
“The more we progress, the closer we are. In addition to this milestone, we have another announcement scheduled for mid-May. We are currently building a working prototype and we will present it to the public in May.
Gendron said the prototype will be shown in Toronto, hoping to ship it to Alberta later so people here can see how the technology will work.
“We are happy to have found Alberta. I would say that today, from our perspective, Alberta is leading the innovation agenda in Canada and I would say that without Alberta we wouldn’t be where we are today.
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