MISSION


Vehicle Projects Inc is the managing and operating contractor of the nonprofit Supersonic Institute. It manages the intellectual property, projects, contracts, and personnel of the nonprofit.

SUPERSONIC INSTITUTE


Supersonic Institute is a nonprofit R&D organization (since 2010) that is developing a new concept in supersonic transport: supersonic tunneling. The unexploited phenomenon of supersonic tunneling has the potential of enabling efficient, quiet, zero-emissions supersonic transport. A vehicle is transported from terrestrial point A to B via a closed, ambient-pressure tube containing an atmosphere more aerodynamically favorable than air. If the gas’s sonic speed is higher than air’s, the vehicle can be supersonic with respect to air outside the tube while subsonic inside. The practical speed limit of a vehicle undergoing supersonic tunneling is Mach 3 in a hydrogen tube. Likewise, if the gas has lower density or viscosity than air, energy consumption can be reduced. There will be no shock waves. The Institute’s core activities are concept development, scientific investigation, and engineering design.

VEHICLE PROJECTS INC


Vehicle Projects’ pathfinding projects, which developed and demonstrated heavy fuelcell industrial vehicles, involved many project partners and international funding spanning 18 years. All projects were supported by the fundraising successes of Vehicle Projects Inc (VP). All were executed by consortia led by VP.

- Fuelcell-powered underground mine locomotive: VP developed and demonstrated the world’s first fuelcell-powered locomotive – a haulage vehicle for underground mining – which safely stored hydrogen fuel as a reversible metal hydride. The locomotive was successfully demonstrated in a working gold mine in Ontario, Canada. Funders: US Department of Energy, US Department of Defense, Government of Canada, corporations. Project partners: 12 technical partners from the USA and Canada. Dates: September 1999 – October 2002

- Fuelcell-powered underground mine loader: VP and its technical consortium developed a 160-kW battery-fuelcell hybrid mine loader (LHD) with regenerative braking. The powerplant utilized a 90 kW (continuous) fuelcell and 12-kWh battery capable of 70 kW transient power. Hydrogen fuel was stored in a reversible metal-hydride system capable of storing 14 kg of hydrogen. Funders: US Department of Energy, Government of Canada, corporations. Project partners: 11 technical partners from the USA and Canada. Dates: April 2002 – December 2008

- Hybrid fuelcell switch locomotive: At 130 t weight and maximum power of 1.5 MW, the hybrid switch locomotive is the heaviest and most powerful fuelcell land vehicle to date. It successfully completed switching operations at a BNSF Railway switchyard in Los Angeles and provided mobile backup power for infrastructure at Hill Air Force Base. Two versions of the locomotive, differing in the battery type and fuelcell continuous power, were built. Compressed hydrogen at 35 MPa was stored at the roofline in lightweight carbon-fiber composite tanks. Funders: US Department of Defense, US Department of Energy, BNSF Railway Company. Project partners: More than 15 technical partners. Dates: June 2003 – February 2016

- Fuelcell locomotives and dozer for platinum mining: Fuelcell powerplants, including reversible metal-hydride storage, for multiple 10-ton mining locomotives and a dozer, were manufactured by VP for demonstration in a South African platinum mine. Both the fuelcell system and the reversible metal-hydride storage system are proprietary VP designs. Funders: Private mining company, VP. Project partners: 4 technical partners. Dates: August 2011 – April 2014

- Engineering design of an experimental supersonic tube vehicle: Supersonic Institute executed an engineering design project for an experimental supersonic tube vehicle. The engineering design and analysis was published as A. R. Miller and D. A. Lassiter, Hydrogen tube vehicle for supersonic transport: 7. Experimental vehicle, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 40 (2015) 4269-4279. Funder: Praxair. Project partners: 2 technical partners. Dates: May 2013 – January 2014

- Reversible-fuelcell tender: VP proposed an innovative and general method of moving electric trains across gaps in the catenary – sections of a rail system that are not electrified – and executed an analysis demonstrating its feasibility. The proposed method uses a reversible-fuelcell and hydrogen storage carried in a tender: Under the catenary, hydrogen is produced; in the gap, hydrogen is consumed to provide power. The analysis was based on CAD modeling and computer simulation. Funder: Government of the United Kingdom. Project partners: 4 technical partners. Dates: May 2015 – June 2016

- Decommissioning of locomotive 1205: Under agreements with the US Army and BNSF Railway Company, VP is decommissioning the hydrogen-fuelcell hardware of locomotive 1205, the final version of the switch locomotive. This involves liquidating the fuelcell stacks, lithium-ion batteries, cooling system, air system, and hydrogen storage. Dates: April 2016 - current

PRINCIPALS


Arnold R. Miller, President: Arnold R. Miller PhD commenced his career as an academic researcher at University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Illinois-Urbana, University of Denver, and Colorado School of Mines. From 1994 to 1998, Prof. Miller was founding Director of the Joint Center for Fuel-Cell Vehicles at Colorado School of Mines. In 1998, he founded Vehicle Projects Inc. He has published numerous papers in research journals such as the Journal of the American Chemical Society and International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. Dr. Miller was the lead inventor on six US patents on hydrogen-hybrid fuelcell locomotives and was awarded his first patent on a new concept in supersonic transport, the supersonic tube vehicle, in 2013. Dr. Miller holds a PhD degree in chemistry and MS degree in applied mathematics, both from the University of Illinois-Urbana.

Wendy E. Shumway, Vice President: Wendy E. Shumway has worked for Vehicle Projects Inc for 16 years (since 2002). Her experience includes procurement, accounting, and contract management for multi-million-dollar projects funded by the US Department of Energy, US Department of Defense, Government of Canada, Government of Japan, Government of the United Kingdom, and industry worldwide.

CONTACTS


Arnold R. Miller, PhD, arnold.miller@vehicleprojects.com Tel +1-303-484-9522
Wendy E. shumway, wendy.shumway@vehicleprojects.com