Switched reluctance linear motor for electric ultra-high-speed.

Funding: Public-private partnership project

The activity is part of the SCALE project, funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 by the European Union "NextGenerationEU"/PRTR "4.


File reference number: CPP2021-008332



Zeleros’ launcher is differential from other hyperloop (HL) approaches, and is based on SRLM (Switched Reluctance Linear Motor, a particular Linear Motor configuration). In our approach, the electric machine is designed in sections, fed by a switcher actioning the coils at different stages of the machine, fed by power electronics components highly demanding on power as requires massive amounts of energy deployed in seconds. SCALE presents an evolution of previous work by Zeleros, CIEMAT and CEIT, in which baseline SRLM technology has been designed at a very reduced scale. Building on that, in SCALE new challenges are addressed for scaling the solution towards a design suitable for operational scale and industrially feasible, fulfilling requirements for a longer acceleration path (600 m.) pushing a heavier vehicle (500 kg) to the ultra-high speed (>600km/h) on an efficient, sustainable, and scalable manner. SCALE will address challenges in all the critical systems involved in this SRLM solution (power electronics, power supply, section switcher, sensing, positioning, and control), by researching, designing, implementing, and experimentally validating the system to de-risk the roadmap by assuring feasibility and scalability for an operational design. To the best of our knowledge, there is currently no operational implementation of SRLM capable to fulfil the requirements as defined for the ultra-high-speed launcher

Project goals:

The mission of SCALE is to design a holistic SRLM (Switched Reluctance Linear Motor) solution including power electronics, energy supply and control algorithms capable to accelerate (push) a vehicle (around 500 kg) to the ultra-high-speed range (>600 km/h) in a sufficiently short acceleration track (around 600 m), and to evaluate the efficiency, sustainability, and scalability benefits of the solution against alternative LM approaches. The critical systems involved in the solution (power electronics, power supply, section switcher, sensing, positioning, and control), will be experimentally validated, including indicators of cost (per track section) and environmental impact (Life-Cycle Assessment).

Ceit's role in the project:

Ceit will be responsible for the design and implementation of the power electronics present in the power supply system of the linear machine sections.

  • Most suited power converter topology will be studied and designed in order to manage higher and increasing demanded voltages and currents. In particular, multi-level and modular/scalable SRM drives will be analysed in detail as they may represent the most viable solutions for this high-speed SRLM particular application in order to guarantee a feasible future industrialization.
  • High-speed high-current/voltage section switches will also be addressed in order to switch the energy flow from one section to the next one in the path. SCALE ambitions on this task relays on two different approaches: first is to achieve the best performance and synchronization between these high-speed section breakers and SRLM control strategy, and second is to design the hardware architecture or devices to be used to perform this high-voltage/current/speed energy flow switching. Even for the power converter or the section switcher devices, new semiconductor technologies based on power devices will be considered (SiC, GaN) as they offer better performance in terms of power losses.