Minister Halligan doesn’t rule out Hyperloop coming to Ireland

3 May 2018

Image: andrey_l/Shutterstock

Ireland’s Hyperloop team Éirloop is gearing up for the SpaceX competition with some support from the Irish Government.

Last February, we profiled Ireland’s first entry into the SpaceX Hyperloop competition, Éirloop, as they prepared for the daunting task of designing and building a test pod to ship all the way over to California.

Since then, the project has grown significantly. The multi-disciplinary team from a number of Irish universities has not only received the backing of a number of Irish-based companies, but the Irish Government, too.

Just to give a quick recap, the SpaceX Hyperloop competition is an international event hosted by Elon Musk’s private space company. The aim is to build and run a Hyperloop train on a 1.5km test track.

For this year’s competition in July, the goal is for teams to send a pod down the track as fast as possible, with Éirloop hoping to achieve a speed of just under 500kph.

So it was welcome news in the past few weeks when Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan, TD, gave his public backing to the team during a meeting with Éirloop’s senior figures.

‘It already is opening doors for us’

“Team Éirloop are an inspiring group of young, driven and ambitious students,” the minister said to

“As one of 20 teams selected to attend the finals, out of 700 applicants worldwide, team Éirloop have been considerably successful in the competition to date. I wish them all the best in the finals this summer.”

Speaking of his interest in the technology, the minister added that not only was he impressed with Éirloop’s presentation, but that he sees no reason why the technology could not be brought to Ireland at some point in the future.

Akhil Voorakkara, Éirloop’s head of electronics and marketing, welcomed the minister’s support.

“It serves as more proof that we really are serious about what we are doing and we are happy to see that it already is opening doors for us,” he said. “It’s really wonderful to have this backing as it helps to get Ireland behind us, something we need to be successful this July.”

Backing from industry

Since February, the team has also had a number of companies come on board to support its efforts including Google, Bentley Systema, IBEC’s Technology Ireland and Engineers Ireland.

In addition, it has received some backing from academia and research such as the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, Dublin City University and Maynooth University.

Meanwhile, Voorakkara claims that the technology they are developing for the pod has undergone radical improvement thanks to the addition of engineering talent and advice from industry experts.

“This has resulted in us actually almost halving our cost projections, thanks to some changes in the pod’s powertrain, without compromising our top speed,” he said.

The competition is set to take place on 22 July. Until then, Éirloop is continuing to crowdfund through its GoFundMe page.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic