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A Proposal for Zero-Emissions mass-Transportation

Helium-filled blimp travels on inclined wire
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A helium-filled blimp with a passenger car rides on a slightly inclined wire. The buoyancy of said blimp would carry the car up the wire, but would be tethered, requiring no propulsion. When the blimp reaches the end of it's line the wire inclines in the opposite direction.

If multiple towers are needed to support the line, each tower would lower or raise the line to a specific elevation determined by the designing engineer.

Should the blimp be dislodged from the tether, the helium could be bled out gradually and emergency props may be included to make for a safe landing.

This would be best suited for inter-city travel.

foreward, Mar 20 2009

Planetran Express http://www.think-ab...LA2NYnHalfnHour.htm
"Ninety minutes from New York to Paris". [nineteenthly, Mar 20 2009]

[link]






       If you can explain where the "zero emissions" bit comes from, I'll give you a bun.*   

         

       *Hint: "In this house, we obey the Laws of Thermodynamics"
coprocephalous, Mar 20 2009
  

       Where does the energy to tilt the wire come from? Could wind-powered rotors draw it down and up through a system of gears? Manufacture and maintenance are other issues.
I certainly think it could be zero emissions, but those matters need to be addressed. Also, i think the blimps could have sails on them which could be turned to maximise the forward movement.
nineteenthly, Mar 20 2009
  

       I get the feeling that unless the towers are spaced stupidly close there are going to be a lot of blimps floating embarrassingly in the middle of long washing lines. If it works, it'd kinda be like a very slow Mexican wave.   

       Could you have a system working on downwards gravity, rather than buoyancy, like an unpowered regular cable-car? That way you'd have less air resistance and greater potential for speed (maximum motive force = net weight / sqrt(2), using 45 degree cable angle). The ride quality could also be interesting, as there's guaranteed vertical motion/oscillation/vibration as you move between towers.
Skrewloose, Mar 20 2009
  

       I thought this would be the tandem all over again.   

       If you can extract the Helium and power the movment of the wires by wind/solar/wave, then this would be 0 emissionsish.   

       I have seen a mass transport system based on ballistic curves (in the 1970's I think) but with rail cars in evacuated tunnels. So you push it off at the start and let gravity do the rest.
eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 20 2009
  

       In a sense, helium doesn't actually need extracting as such because it's already there. It just needs to be collected, though i imagine it also builds up in subterranean pockets. How about rigid cables? If they were made of some strong, inflexible substance and were spaced correctly, wouldn't that work? Also, why not have parallel cable cars and blimps going up and down?
[VIII_IX_testudo], i wonder if you're thinking of the planetran express. See link.
nineteenthly, Mar 20 2009
  

       Yeah, that's part of it. But the version I saw used ballistic arcs to first accelerate the capsule into the crust using PE and then rise out the other end on its own KE.
eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 20 2009
  

       I have a vague memory of something i saw on Tomorrow's World on twenty-third of March 'seventy-eight and something else from the 'Book Of Predictions', but i don't remember how the propulsion worked, just the evacuated tunnels.
nineteenthly, Mar 20 2009
  

       Core, if that's your vague memory, how goods your real one. My vague memory is that I must have existed in the past, as I am here now at an advanced age!
eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 20 2009
  

       // if that's your vague memory, how goods your real one // Actually not good. Long term is good, short term very poor, and even long term is very selective. I can even tell you it was around a quarter to eight. Presumably TOTP was on immediately before it, and number one was 'Wuthering Heights' by Kate Bush. I cheated there, obviously. On the other hand, i don't remember the location of my keys, shoes, wallet or bag right now.
nineteenthly, Mar 20 2009
  

       //i don't remember the location of my keys, shoes, wallet or bag right now.//
Easy - they'll be in the last place you look.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 20 2009
  

       I never look there.
nineteenthly, Mar 20 2009
  

       Where you gonna get all that helium and pressurize it, etc. without emissions.....?
daseva, Mar 20 2009
  

       I think the gravity-based system would be simpler. You could call it the "zip line."
ye_river_xiv, Mar 20 2009
  

       You could compress the helium with gravity, a long, helical pipe and a heavy piston. Come to think of it, it wouldn't need much compression.
nineteenthly, Mar 20 2009
  
      
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