In early June, Team Primex will compete in Amsterdam to win a global competition to bring Elon Musk’s mode of transportation to life.

Illustration of a future Hyperloop station.

A group of young Spaniards has been starring in the covers since they sneaked, in January, into the semifinals of a global contest to make the Hyperloop a reality, the capsule (full of goods or passengers) that will cross the planet connecting cities at 1,200 kilometers per hour inside a vacuum tube.

After going to the final, next June 6 and 7, this Primex Team will be in Amsterdam to present to Hyperloop One executives the project to communicate Madrid and Tangier in an hour. Compete against seven other European teams. If they stand as winners, Spain could go from being the country of high-speed trains to being that of ultra-speed trains.

“The idea of ​​Hyperloop One in this contest is decide where they are going to make the first tracings of what the entire global network will be for them in the future ”, Carmen Palomino, director of talent at the Fundación Universidad y Empresa, explains to EL ESPAÑOL, at whose headquarters the team meets every Friday afternoon to prepare for the final.

Laura González and Luis Fernando Rodríguez are civil engineers employees in the Canal de Isabel II. Operation Lezo, which has the public company and its former managers at the center of its target, has now joined its daily tasks. “The day the Civil Guard was there, there was a commotion, but all this does not affect us much in the technical area,” says Rodríguez.

Members of the Spanish team that will compete for the final.

Members of the Spanish team that will compete for the final.

The Spanish team is made up of 17 young people with diverse profiles. From engineers, in charge of outlining the best way to connect a thousand kilometers of pipe, to economists in charge of studying its viability, architects or experts in international law or marketing. In addition, they have nine people in charge of advising them who come from companies or the university.

The new Spanish high speed

One of them, José Luis Sánchez, works at Ferrovial and believes that the arrival of the Hyperloop in Spain could help energize the high-speed sector, “Critical for the Spanish foreign economy: this transport system is already exhausted in Spain and now we are selling it abroad, the Hyperloop is something new that may be important from now on”.

“All the know-how that Spain has in high speed is going to be directly applicable“, Explains Laura González in this regard. “The technology is different in some points but it is still a high-speed linear work that in terms of expropriations would be similar and in terms of security also although raised to the next level,” he adds, “I think Spain starts from a very advantageous base“.

One of the sections of Hyperloop that are being tested in Nevada, USA.

One of the sections of Hyperloop that are being tested in Nevada, USA.

The project, if carried out, would represent a fast and direct link between Europe and Africa, something that our applicants will put a lot of emphasis on. Morocco also has a project to link Tangier and Casablanca with a high-speed line scheduled for 2018, which is in favor of the Spanish project for Hyperloop.

“The fundamental idea of uniting two continents is keyIt’s something that no other team has done, ”says Rodríguez. “With the goods we managed to unite very important points because all the maritime routes pass through the Strait of Gibraltar.”

The line would go to the dry port of Coslada, also very close to the Barajas airport. The futuristic train sketched by Elon Musk in 2013 also has an advantage over conventional rail. “It does not have that maintenance that the train requires at night, practically you could use it 24 hours, for example to transport passengers during the day and goods at night ”, says Rodríguez.

Another of the team’s senior advisers, José Carlos Villena, works on financing international projects and believes that, if achieved, its importance would go far beyond transportation. “An infrastructure of these characteristics integrates socially and economically very large areas, you have the possibility of having Spanish technicians very well prepared around the industrial center of Tangier, for example, there are currently many Spanish companies of automotive components ”.

And how will you cross the strait?

Among the doubts that remain to be resolved is, obviously, how to cross the kilometers of water that separate Europe from Africa.

“It will be necessary to define it more a posteriori”, indicates González, “but we propose two solutions that would be viable“. One of them would be to drill a tunnel under the seabed of the strait. “There are already studies for rail, but adapting it to Hyperloop would not be extremely complicated,” explains the engineer. The other is to build a floating submerged tunnel, also called Archimedes’ tunnel, which would be supported by pontoons or cables anchored to the seabed.

A floating tunnel or Archimedes.

A floating tunnel or Archimedes.
Aker Norwegian Contractors

As important as the contribution of the experts and advisers may be, Palomino gives the young talent on the team all the credit for making it to the final of this international competition. “We are finalists because of the sagacity they had to define a route between Madrid and Tangier ”, he explains, and confesses that the first time those kids suggested the idea, the older ones looked at each other and exclaimed:“ they are crazy ”.