Introduced the world’s first “zero emission car” that removes carbon dioxide from the air while driving

Road transport contributes around 16% to global carbon dioxide, but what if our cars could actually start capturing these emissions?

The engineering students unveiled their blueprint for the world’s first “zero-emission car”, which removes and stores carbon dioxide from the air as it travels the road.

Air enters through a grille on the front of the vehicle, which passes through a filter that separates and stores the greenhouse gases.

The electric vehicle, known as “Zem”, was designed by the TU / ecomotive team of Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.

Their prototype also has solar panels on the roof and hood, which allow it to be used as an external battery for a home.

Scientists have unveiled their blueprint for the world’s first “zero-emission car”, which removes and stores carbon dioxide from the air as it travels the road

The electric vehicle was designed by the TU / ecomotive team of the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands

Air enters through the grille on the front of the vehicle, which then passes through a filter that separates and stores the greenhouse gases

The electric vehicle was designed by the TU / ecomotive team of the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. Air enters through the grille on the front of the vehicle, which then passes through a filter that separates and stores the greenhouse gases

Zem's filter currently reaches capacity after approximately 200 miles, when it has collected approximately 30g of gaseous carbon dioxide.  The filters could be cleaned or replaced and the captured carbon dioxide emptied while the electric car is charging

Zem’s filter currently reaches capacity after approximately 200 miles, when it has collected approximately 30g of gaseous carbon dioxide. The filters could be cleaned or replaced and the captured carbon dioxide emptied while the electric car is charging

HOW DOES AUTO ZEM WORK?

Air flows into the car through the grille located under the headlights.

The filter separates and stores the gaseous carbon dioxide as it is operated.

The “clean” air comes out of the car from the front wheels.

When the filter has collected around 30g of carbon dioxide, it can be replaced while the car is charging.

“We are cleaning the air while driving and aim to become completely CO2 neutral,” said team manager Louise de Laat.

‘It really is still a proof-of-concept, but we can already see that we will be able to increase the capacity of the filter in the next few years.

“Capturing CO2 is a prerequisite for offsetting emissions during production and recycling.”

The Zem filter currently reaches capacity after approximately 200 miles, when it has collected approximately 30g of gaseous carbon dioxide.

The filters could be cleaned or replaced and the captured carbon dioxide emptied while the electric car is charging.

While it is not clear what will happen to the gas after it is collected by the filter, previous projects have used CO2 to produce building materials and baking soda, or have stored it underground.

The team says it is possible to remove up to two kilograms of carbon dioxide for every 12,800 miles the car travels per year using its “direct air capture technology”.

If the technology were to be implemented on millions of cars on the road around the world, it would have the potential to make a real contribution to reducing greenhouse gases.

The engineering students, who previously created cars made from recycled plastic waste, also designed the car so that as much as possible can be recycled when it reaches the end of its life cycle.

Its interior is also made from sustainable materials such as pineapple leather and recycled plastic, and its windows are made of polycarbonate.

Engineers, who previously created cars made from recycled plastic waste, designed the car so that as much of it as possible can be recycled when it reaches the end of its life.

Engineers, who previously created cars made from recycled plastic waste, designed the car so that as much of it as possible can be recycled when it reaches the end of its life.

The Zem's filter currently reaches capacity after about 200 miles, but the filters could be cleaned and the charcoal captured emptied into a tank while the car is being loaded

The Zem’s filter currently reaches capacity after about 200 miles, but the filters could be cleaned and the charcoal captured emptied into a tank while the car is being loaded

The car's interior is made from sustainable pineapple leather and recycled plastic

The car’s interior is made from sustainable pineapple leather and recycled plastic

The solar panels on the car roof also allow it to be used as an external battery for a home.

A spokesperson for the team said: “Another upcoming technology implemented in Zem is bidirectional charging.

“Bi-directional charging technology allows cars to power homes when no renewable energy is being generated at that time.

“You can see Zem as a kind of external battery to your home, providing the home with green energy when needed.

“The bi-directional charging technology has been paired with solar panels implemented on the car roof.

“In this way, Zem uses both batteries and roof space to make the vehicle and its surroundings more sustainable, even when not driving.”

The solar panels on the roof allow the car to also be used as an external battery for a home

The solar panels on the roof allow the car to also be used as an external battery for a home

“We want to tickle the industry by showing what is already possible,” said the team’s head of external relations, Nikki Okkels.

‘If 35 students can design, develop and build a near-zero emission car in one year, then there are opportunities and possibilities for the industry as well.

“We ask the industry to take up the challenge and of course we are happy to think with them.

“We are not finished developing yet and we want to make great strides in the coming years. We warmly invite car manufacturers to come and take a look.”

Zem’s announcement comes just over a year after electric car company Polestar announced plans to create a fully climate-neutral car by 2030.

To achieve this, it hopes to eliminate all carbon emissions from its manufacturing process by using renewable energy throughout the supply chain, recycled materials and innovative design.

Zem's announcement comes just over a year after electric car company Polestar announced its plan to create a fully climate-neutral car by 2030. The Polestar 2 (pictured) will receive a sustainability statement.

Zem’s announcement comes just over a year after electric car company Polestar announced its plan to create a fully climate-neutral car by 2030. The Polestar 2 (pictured) will receive a sustainability statement.

Scientists are developing a rail car that can remove 3,000 tons of CO2 from the air per year

As it stands, train travel is not carbon neutral, with journeys accounting for 0.4 ounces (14 grams) of carbon dioxide (CO2) per passenger mile.

However, this could be set to change to a new train that actively removes CO2 from the air as it moves.

A US-based startup called the CO2Rail Company worked with engineers from the University of Sheffield and the University of Toronto to develop huge vents that take in air as the train moves.

The CO2 can then be separated from the air, converted into liquid and stored inside the truck until empty.

Researchers believe this is a more cost-effective solution than other direct air capture (DAC) solutions, as the carriages can be adapted to trains already in service.

They claim that each car could remove up to 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year in the short term.

Read more here

Illustration of the CO2Rail train wagon that can actively remove carbon dioxide from the air as it moves.  Carbon dioxide (CO2) can then be separated from the air, converted into liquid and stored inside the truck until empty

Illustration of the CO2Rail train wagon that can actively remove carbon dioxide from the air as it moves. Carbon dioxide (CO2) can then be separated from the air, converted into liquid and stored inside the truck until empty

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