Developed at Eindhoven University, the prototype purifies air and stores the captured CO₂ for later safe disposal, and could contribute to fighting climate change.
Dutch students’ sustainable electric car captures more CO₂ than it creates
TU Eindhoven student team TU/ecomotive has developed a sustainable electric passenger car that captures more carbon dioxide (CO₂) than it emits while driving. It is a prototype, called Zem, that purifies the air through a special filter. By storing the captured CO₂ and then safely disposing of it, Zem can contribute to reducing global warming. The students will continue to improve the vehicle in the coming years, with the goal of making it carbon-neutral for its entire life cycle and eventually hitting the road. — BrainPortEindhoven
Transport responsible for about 25% of EU carbon emissions
The transport sector is a major polluter, producing about a quarter of the EU’s total carbon emissions a few years ago. Passenger cars are responsible for more than 60% of these emissions. To reduce these emissions, 35 students designed, developed and built a car that produces fewer or no emissions both during the production process and on the road. In addition, the team strives for optimal reusability of materials in the future.
The car can capture 2 kilograms of CO₂ through a special filter at 20,000 travel miles per year. This means that ten cars can store as much carbon dioxide as an average tree. That may not seem like much, but the overall payoff is significant if you were to soon implement it on a large scale in every passenger car, the team argues. After all, there are more than a billion passenger cars driving around the world, which could capture net CO₂ instead of emitting it.— BrainPortEindhoven
A life cycle analysis with SimaPro software can be used to determine the extent to which the life cycle of the vehicle – from construction to use and afterlife – is CO₂-neutral.
Several innovations contribute to this goal. Consider the 3D printing techniques used by the students. The monocoque and body panels are manufactured via 3D printing, resulting in almost no residual waste. In addition, the student team prints circular plastics that can be shredded and reused for other projects.
The electric and sustainable four-wheeler has a sporty look. With good reason, say the students, because a sporting challenge awaits the automotive industry. After all, road transport must become much more sustainable.
Nikki Okkels, external relations manager at TU/ecomotive: "We call on the industry to pick up the challenge, and of course we are happy to think along with them. We’re not finished developing yet either, and we want to take some big steps in the coming years. We warmly invite car manufacturers to come and take a look."
"We want to tickle the industry by showing what is already possible. And working together. If 35 students can design, develop and build an almost carbon-neutral car in a year, then there are also opportunities and possibilities for the industry."
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU EAT—NOT WHETHER YOUR FOOD IS LOCAL—IF YOU WANT TO REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
‘Eating local’ is a recommendation you hear often, and while it might make sense intuitively, new evidence from the Global Change Data Lab at the University of Oxford suggest it is one of the most misguided pieces of advice and that what you eat is far more important than where your food travelled from.