Research to Business
Offer: 686

Freight and energy transport by magnetic levitation train

New concept combines magnetic levitation and energy transmission via superconductor tapes in the rail structure and offers a double benefit for freight logistics.

Schematic illustration: In the KIT concept, the usual, expensive permanent magnets are replaced by a superconducting soft magnetic rail. The rail provides the track on which the rail vehicle with superconducting element floats contactlessly by magnetic interaction and simultaneously functions as a distribution network for electricity. (Image: Karola Janz / KIT)

Transport and logistics are an integral part of social life. The mobility of freight and goods in the industrial environment is ensured by means of rail transport, among other things. In addition to the classic drive systems for rail vehicles, such as electric motors and internal combustion engines, electrified magnetic levitation technologies are under development.

State of the art

The principle of the magnetic levitation train is known and different systems, e.g. electromagnetic levitation, are already internationally validated on test tracks. All classic techniques have in common that repulsive forces caused by magnetic fields between the guide rail and the vehicle create the levitation effect. The "magnetic levitation" is considered to have a promising future, since frictionless levitation does not cause friction wear and very high speeds are possible. However, depending on the system, there are either high costs for the necessary control technology or for high-priced permanent magnets.


Using superconducting tape conductors, scientists from the Institute of Technical Physics (ITEP) have developed a new form of magnetic levitation that combines rail transport with energy transmission via the magnetic levitation track. The typical permanent magnets are replaced by a current-carrying, lamellar composite of high-temperature superconductor and soft magnetic material (e.g. iron) as rail. This tape is cooled below the superconducting transition temperature and generates the magnetic field necessary for levitation by means of a current flow. On the vehicle side, a superconductor is also installed as a magnetic counter pole, which ensures the levitation position so that the vehicle can move along the magnetic field configuration. A continuous electrical line is thus also realized via the railway network of superconductor tapes.


In contrast to existing superconducting levitation techniques, the new concept completely dispenses with permanent magnets. The superconductor in the railway not only generates the magnetic fields, but also allows loss-free energy transport along the track. This additional function can increase the cost efficiency of a magnetic railway network.

Options for companies

The described technology opens up new perspectives for the new planning of logistics and energy supply at industrial sites. KIT is looking for partners for the further development or use of the magnetic levitation concept and the realization of a demonstrator.

Images close open

Your contact person for this offer

Birgit Schulze
Innovation Manager Mobility and Information
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Innovation and Relations Management (IRM)
Phone: +49 721 608-28460
Add offer to watch list

Remember offer

No offers listed yet

This site uses third-party website tracking technologies to provide its services. I agree to this and can revoke or change my consent at any time with effect for the future.

Settings Refuse AcceptLegal NoticePrivacy Policy