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The need to update our power infrastructure is well documented. How we update it will determine our productivity and energy efficiency for decades to come. It has been many years since any major investment in new infrastructure. To bring us back to the cutting edge we must invest in new technology that takes us further along the road to energy independence and efficiency. The idea of building a transcontinental grid or supergrid is not new, nor is the idea of combining a mag-lev train (or series of cars as in Terraspan) in underground tunnels (Ausubel 2004) while the vacuum mag-lev is the last invention of our greatest rocket scientist Robert Goddard in 1945.

Terraspan recognizes and uses the inherent energy stored kinetically in a moving car to provide smooth seamless storage of electrical energy for our transcontinental grid. Terraspan also addresses basic safety issues, business and mechanical issues to define a system that is potentially only a few years away from implementation.

The tunnels will be the roads for Terraspan cars. Terraspan cars are mag-lev transports able to accept large equipment or even trucks and train cars. The mag-lev is similar to that in use now in Europe and Asia. Vacuum tunnels, with the air mostly removed, allow Terraspan cars to be much bigger and faster then conventional mag-lev. Running in magnetic levitation inside a vacuum tunnel Terraspan trains will operate nearly friction free. The trains have been designed to be lifting bodies so that in the event of a problem, air rushing into the tunnel would cause the train to fly through the tunnel as its emergency breaking system worked, slowing the train gently.

Currently 7% of the electricity traveling through high voltage wires is lost. That’s 272 billion kilowatt hours lost as 544 billion pounds of carbon enter the atmosphere every year. Replacing High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) with High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) and super-conductors reclaims most of that 7% translating into a leap in available power without additional pollution. The Terraspan buried and evacuated Low-Loss electrical grid provides a much needed and long put off overhaul of the aging electricity infrastructure finally permitting true cross continental power distribution and nearly eliminates energy loss over transmission lines, increasing the available energy by as much as 7%.

The new grid will also allow electricity to be transmitted over longer distances which leads to some significant advantages. First of all, power can be shared across the continent and time zones so peak hour energy users at 7:30 am in New York can access the power from Los Angeles where more power is produced than is used at 4:30am. Secondly, remote renewable alternative energy resources, like Midwestern wind, and solar from the southwest can be brought into use in high demand areas. Updated power grids would connect remote alternative energy sources to dense urban power markets, decreasing dependence on fossil fuel burning power plants.



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  • Name:
    Vic Kley
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