A couple of days ago I talked about Interstate Traveler’s maglev Hyrail system and its creator Justin Sutton. Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Sutton and follow up with him on some of the details of his cutting edge solar and hydrogen powered elevated rail train.
One of the core pieces to the puzzle in the Hydrogen Superhighway rail train system are the utility substations with their electrolyzers that create hydrogen and oxygen for the fuel cells. According to Mr. Sutton, nationwide there will be 18,000 utility substations with electrolyzers in them and his company is in negotiations with Hydrogenics to supply these electrolysis units.
Right now the main idea is to use solar panels along the conduit below the rails to supply power to the substations. There is also potential to use wind energy at the substations themselves to supply power.
Inside the conduit cluster also are various pipelines. One of the pipelines could be used for transporting hydrogen to fueling stations. According to Mr. Sutton, the pipelines will most likely be made of plastic with some sort of impermeable coating inside to keep the hydrogen molecules from escaping.
I asked Mr. Sutton if a prototype was being developed and he said yes. There will be a half-scale model built in the Detroit Metro area. Negotiations are going on right now with the large Detroit automakers other vendors who would have an equity stake in the company.
All the components for the Hyrail system will be built either in the Detroit area or Ohio (with the exception of the suspension components which will most likely be coming from the UK).
The first tangible part of the Hyrail system will be the rail itself since it can be manufactured and installed quickly. The plan is to eventually have 12 factories in the U. S. that will help build the Hyrail Installation Cranes (pictured and most likely from Caterpillar) to put the rail in place.
I asked Mr. Sutton a final question on what the next step in the process is. And, he replied that there are several next steps that are ongoing including the public / private partnership with that state of Michigan and its vendors and suppliers, ongoing marshalling of other resources in other states and countries and negotiations with Indonesia who is looking at the Hyrail system with much interest.
Here is another that gives you a 20-second ride on the Hyrail system. It takes a minute or so to fully buffer the file so please be patient and watch it to the end. Many thanks to Justin Sutton of for the conversation and clarification on this big idea in hydrogen transportation.