Eindhoven University of Technology students have developed a sustainable electric passenger car that captures more carbon dioxide (CO2) than it emits while driving. In the end, the car should become completely CO2 neutral.
The car named ZEM (Zero Emission Mobility) is a prototype, but the technology is promising, according to the students. They want to further improve the vehicle in the coming years, with the goal of making the entire vehicle life cycle – including construction and demolition – CO2 neutral. This would be a huge win, as passenger cars are responsible for more than 60% of the carbon dioxide emissions of all transport in the EU.
Through a special filter, ZEM can capture 2 kilograms of CO2 at 20,000 kilometers per year. This means that ten cars can store as much carbon dioxide as the average tree.
“This may not sound like a lot, but the overall payoff is significant if you are going to apply the technology extensively in every passenger car,” a team spokesperson said. This way we can capture net CO2 while driving instead of emitting it.
“Under the headlights, there is a grill on both sides with a filter behind,” explains team leader Louise de Laat of TU/ecomotive. Eindhoven Dagblad. Air containing polluting gases passes through the filter, which acts like a sponge, causing carbon dioxide to stick to it. The rest of the clean air is blown through the wheels back under the car.”
Refueling but different
But how do you know if the filter is clogged or full? “Because it has tiny particles that absorb the carbon dioxide, causing it to expand and the filter to become heavy,” Louise says. “At a certain value, the car gives a signal that you have to empty the filter. Your gasoline car also somewhat indicates that you have to refuel.”
The filter – about the size of a cup – is removable with a handle and can be emptied into a special charging station. Students apply for a patent for this innovation. The team also designed the accompanying charging station itself. The car can now drive 320 kilometers before the filter is full.
Welcome car manufacturers
The analysis can be used to determine the extent to which a vehicle’s life cycle – from construction to use and demolition – is CO2 neutral. The students would like to make the car CO2-neutral, among other things, using 3D printing techniques. For example, the chassis and body panels are made using 3D printers, so almost no waste is produced.
Students invite the automotive industry to take on the challenge. According to them, car manufacturers are very welcome to come and have a look. They should be fast, because the sporty-looking vehicle will soon be shipped to the US for a tour of universities, consulates, and businesses.
Watch the cars and navigation videos below:
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