Press release

Global Warming Abatement: Terretrane Emerging as Best Option

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15 Aug 2018 – Terretrane's emerging zipline-guideway technology could cut greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels in half by 2030. Such an unexpected windfall for the environment is only possible with a technology that redefines what is possible.

Step 1 - 5X Increase in Fuel Economy
Terretrane is a technology based on tethered gliders being pulled along zipline-type guideways. Advances in aerodynamics allow full aerodynamic flight to be achieved without wings and in corridors less than 4 meters wide. The zipline guideways are much easier to route than railways, and a "1/5th the cost" metric was quantified in a 2018 Transportation Research Board (TRB) paper.
A newly submitted TRB paper documents the "1/5th the energy" metric and is the basis for projected impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
Electric trains are debatably today's best option to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for inter-city transit. The kilometers per gasoline equivalent are the best based on recent Oak Ridge National Lab studies (airliners are second), and displacing petroleum fuels with renewable fuels like wind power essentially eliminates respective greenhouse gas emissions.
As compared to trains, Terretrane's vehicles are lighter weight and have less air resistance. These advantages are enough to increase fuel economy from 55 miles per gasoline gallon equivalent (MPGGE) to over 250 MPGGE. This compares to averages of 51, 38, and 32 for airlines, cars, and transit busses (as reported in Oak Ridge National Lab study).
The estimate of Terretrane's fuel economy was based on the 51 MPGGE of airlines. Three factors contribute about equally to the improved fuel economy: 1) improved efficiency of electrical power generation versus aircraft engines, 2) lighter weight of Terretrane vehicles from direct use of grid electricity rather than stored fuel on the craft, and 3) operational logistics allowing smaller vehicles to have a standard of non-stop service approaching door-to-door service.

Step 2 - Increased Market
The barriers that prevent railways from extending their "green" advantages to aircraft and automobile markets are not there for Terreplane. Key factors that enable broader impacts are, Terreplane:
  1. can more-readily attain speeds in excess of 350 miles per hour, allowing it to displace most of non-overseas airline transit,
  2. is feasible with smaller vehicles (enabling non-stop door-to-door service as a standard) and for use with routes from a few kilometers to thousands and kilometers; out-performing automobiles, airlines, and rail with one system, and
  3. enables low-cost same-day parcel/freight autonomous delivery, reducing the time and energy of purchasing.
Safe, autonomous service is much easier to achieve on zipline-type corridors versus highways/streets or the open skies.
Expansion to these markets extends the greenhouse gas emission reductions to about 25% of gases generated by fossil fuels; the reductions are due to efficiency that reduces consumption and displacement of what remains with renewable energy like wind power.

Step 3 - Societal Transformation
Fast, efficient, and inexpensive transportation will transform society in many good ways. Most prominent are
  1. a reduction in the "material intensity" of today's society and
  2. easy access to society.
Despite the money and time spent on landscaping around houses and businesses, the prominent "landscape" features of most buildings are concrete driveways and parked vehicles. With the easy access of Terretrane's zipline-type guideways, the need for parked vehicles and expanses of concrete/asphalt go away. The manufacturing and installation of respective displaced concrete (and other materials) are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.
The material intensity of today's society goes beyond the automobiles, highways, driveways, and parking garages "attached" to so many people. Many people have redundancies of: 1) a home office and a business office, 2) a home parking space and a business parking space, and 3) a primary home and a vacation home. Improved access reduces the advantages of these redundancies.
Terretrane can transform a 45 minute commute to less than 10 minutes, door-to-door. Terretrane can make commuting from over 200 miles very reasonable with reliable transit times and work-friendly transit vehicles.

Step 4 - The Transformation
The best initial applications of Terretrane enhance existing rail/airline/highway infrastructure. Examples of such applications include:
  • Large bridges cost in excess of $400 million per mile. Terretrane guideways can piggyback on existing bridges or traverse expanses of up to 2 miles between towers; these result in costs of less than $40 million per mile. When additional bridge access is needed, use of Terretrane can immediately result in the savings of hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • Aerial tram systems are a widely used transportation option. Terretrane guideways can be put on existing aerial tram systems to provide parallel operation to aerial tram service. The Terretrane service would be faster allow extensions that were not feasible (due to long transit times) with aerial tram service.
  • Superports are local Terretrane networks that connect airports, railway stations, and select access points in 100 to 200 mile radius. The connections allows all these ports to functionally operate as a single port, typically with less than 20 minute gate-to-gate transit times. With secure service between boarding gates and access points at all network locations, new standards of service would emerge. Those new standards would be based around the many new departure and arrival options to the superport (versus individual ports/stations); those new standards would substantially end the need to make flight connections and end adverse ramifications of delayed or cancelled flights.

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Exhibitor Exhibitor

Terreplane Technologies, LLC

4 Bingham
Columbia, MO 65203
United States of America

  • InnoTrans 2018
  • Hall 2.2 405

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