Superconductors and NO2 Monitoring Help Colorado Hyperloop

A bulk superconductor levitated by a permanent magnet Credit: University of Cambridge
A bulk superconductor levitated by a permanent magnet Credit: University of Cambridge

These two technology advances will help with the implementation of the Colorado Hyperloop. They also had large converging in the news sphere.

New record for a trapped field in a superconductor, beating a record that has stood for more than a decade, could herald the arrival of materials in a broad range of fields. 

The research demonstrates the potential of high-temperature superconductors for applications in a range of fields, including flywheels for energy storage, ‘magnetic separators’, which can be used in mineral refinement and pollution control, and in high-speed levitating monorail trains. – See more at:

Instead of monorails, lets think of hyperloops.

Next, the Denver haze/brown cloud has been monitored from Space!

Anyone living in a major U.S. city for the past decade may have noticed a change in the air. The change is apparent in new NASA satellite images unveiled this week that demonstrate the reduction of air pollution across the country.
After ten years in orbit, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite has been in orbit sufficiently long to show that people in major U.S. cities are breathing less nitrogen dioxide – a yellow-brown gas that can cause respiratory problems.

Denver N02
Image Credit: NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio/T. Schindler

Satellite data show that Denver has seen a 22 percent decrease in nitrogen dioxide between the 2005-2007 (left) and 2009-2011 (right) periods. NASA’s Discover-AQ, a multi-year airborne mission, is flying this summer in Denver to learn more about the region’s wide range of air pollutants.

Nitrogen dioxide is one of the six common pollutants regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect human health. Alone it can impact the respiratory system, but it also contributes to the formation of other pollutants including ground-level ozone and particulates, which also carry adverse health effects. The gas is produced primarily during the combustion of gasoline in vehicle engines and coal in power plants. It’s also a good proxy for the presence of air pollution in general.
Air pollution has decreased even though population and the number of cars on the roads have increased. The shift is the result of regulations, technology improvements and economic changes, scientists say.

In fact, about 142 million people still lived in areas in the United States with unhealthy levels of air pollution, according to the EPA. Also, high levels of air pollution remain an issue in many other parts of the world, according to the global view from satellites.
“While our air quality has certainly improved over the last few decades, there is still work to do – ozone and particulate matter are still problems,” said Bryan Duncan, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Decision makers and regulatory agencies like EPA have long relied on data from ground sites to inform air quality science and forecasts. NASA, while not directly involved with regulation or making forecasts, provides a consistent, global, space-based view – not possible from any other source – of when and where air pollution occurs.

The hyperloop will further decrease the use of gas engines and coal power plants.

So lets hope those superconductors get implemented soon into transportation and lets hope the satellites monitoring the NO2 continue to work for years to come!

New EPA Action Helps Colorado Hyperloop

EPA Logo

EPA Logo

The Colorado Hyperloop will benefit from the recent changes by the EPA force State’s to create power from other than high carbon dioxide sources.

According to CPR, Colorado is well positioned for the upcoming changes that President Obama had the EPA create rules to cut carbon pollution. The heart of the matter is this:

“Climate and weather disasters in 2012 cost the American economy more than $100 billion,” the agency says in a document accompanying the proposal.

“We don’t have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a news release about the plan. “Our action will sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation and create jobs.”

– See more at:

Specifically, for Colorado:

Colorado became the first state with a voter-approved renewable energy standard (PDF) 10 years ago when voters approved Amendment 37 (PDF). The law requires investor-owned electric utilities to provide 30 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, with 3 percent coming from distributed generation.

The law has forced energy producers to switch from coal to natural gas and the transition has been relatively smooth.

In 2013, 64 percent of the electricity generated in Colorado came from coal, 20 percent from natural gas and 17 percent from renewable energy resources, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Currently, Colorado has 12 coal plants.

– See more at:

A more detailed look at Colorado’s energy is below:

Colorado Quick Facts

Last updated March 27, 2014.

Basically Colorado has lots of Coal, but also a lot, and growing, renewables. Luckily, and hopefully, the Colorado Hyperloop will be powered solely by renewables.

Also, there was a OpEd in the NYTimes about taxing gas for maintaining the highway system. It can be found here, but more interestingly were the comments section. Specifically these two:

Mary Ann & Ken Bergman

Ashland, OR7 hours ago

Mr. Schank advocates using general funds to pay for maintaining and improving our transportation system, arguing that a good transportation system benefits us all, whether or not we personally use it. On the other hand, the nation needs to move toward greater energy efficiency and away from high CO2 pollution rates, and taxing gas-guzzling vehicles higher than others should be effective in making people switch to electric and hybrid cars or use public transportation if the gas tax is made high enough. Also, it’s not fair for those who leave a smaller carbon footprint to subsidize those who leave a big one through general fund taxation. The present gas tax serves a useful purpose; it just needs to be increased, with perhaps more flexibility in how it is spent.

One step that really needs to be taken is to get much of our commercial transportation out of large trucks on the road and instead onto rail. Tax the trucks enough to pay to improve the rail lines, which are in deplorable shape in many places. Shipping by trains instead of trucks would reduce CO2 pollution by as much as 90 percent and be cheaper in energy costs as well if rail lines were up to snuff. It would also make our roads, especially interstates, less crowded and safer.

If Mr. Schank thinks that raising the gas tax is a non-starter, he certainly should know that raising general revenue taxes is even more of a non-starter in our current Congress.

And the piece de resistance…


 NYC 7 hours ago

Other modern countries use general revenues for transport, and for national health care. These these are crucial services directly affecting their economies and citizens’ lives. Same for their excellent education system, not relying on local property taxes. And not putting their grads in lifetime debt for college. 

Americans say, I don’t have kids in school, or I won’t get pregnant, or I don’t use that bridge–so don’t tax me for it. 

This idea that payment for something should come only from those directly using a service is destructive to our economy and well being. It’s been used to drum up opposition to spending across the board—transport, education, health care taxes, senior benefit programs, etc. Our political polarization and do nothing congress is a cause and result. 

Pres Obama’s recent infrastructure speech made stark foreign comparisons. The US ranks 19th in infrastructure/transport spending among nations. Europe spends 2X what we do, and China 4X. This spending creates jobs.
These facts didn’t get much media coverage. 

Obama said almost half of Americans have no access to transport. That means they can’t get to jobs, or even look for a job, or get to shops. Some may be past working age, or have to rely on others. But they’re stuck and isolated. What a negative ripple effect on the economy. So our lack of infrastructure spending is directly related to our wealth inequality, downward mobility, and weak consumer demand.