World’s first ‘carbon neutral car’ unveiled that removes carbon dioxide from the air as it drives

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Road transport contributes about 16 percent of global carbon dioxide – but what if our cars could actually absorb these emissions?

Student engineers have unveiled their design for the world’s first “carbon neutral car,” which removes and stores carbon dioxide from the air as it travels down the road.

Air flows in through a grille at the front of the vehicle, which passes through a filter that separates and stores the greenhouse gas.

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

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

Scientists have unveiled their design for the world's first 'carbon neutral car', which removes and stores carbon dioxide from the air as it travels down the road

Scientists have unveiled their design for the world’s first ‘carbon neutral car’, which removes and stores carbon dioxide from the air as it travels down the road

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

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

Air flows in through the grille at the front of the vehicle, which then passes through a filter that separates and stores the greenhouse gas

Air flows in through the grille at the front of the vehicle, which then passes through a filter that separates and stores the greenhouse gas

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

The Zem's filter currently reaches its capacity after about 200 miles, when it has captured about 30 g of gaseous carbon dioxide.  The filters can be cleaned or replaced, and the captured carbon dioxide can be emptied while the electric car is being charged

The Zem's filter currently reaches its capacity after about 200 miles, when it has captured about 30 g of gaseous carbon dioxide.  The filters can be cleaned or replaced, and the captured carbon dioxide can be emptied while the electric car is being charged

The Zem’s filter currently reaches its capacity after about 200 miles, when it has captured about 30 g of gaseous carbon dioxide. The filters can be cleaned or replaced, and the captured carbon dioxide can be emptied while the electric car is being charged

HOW DOES THE ZEM AUTO WORK?

Air enters the car through the grille below the headlights.

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

‘clean’ air flows out of the car through the front wheels.

When the filter has collected approximately 30 g of carbon dioxide, it can be replaced while the car is being charged.

‘We clean the air while driving and aim to become completely CO2 neutral,’ says team manager Louise de Laat.

‘It is really still a proof-of-concept, but we are already seeing that we can increase the capacity of the filter in the coming years.

‘Capturing CO2 is a precondition for compensating for emissions during production and recycling.’

The Zem’s filter currently reaches its capacity after about 200 miles, when it has captured about 30 g of gaseous carbon dioxide.

While the electric car is being charged, the filters can be cleaned or replaced, and the captured carbon dioxide emptied.

While it’s unclear what will happen to the gas after it’s removed from the filter, previous projects have used CO2 to make building materials and baking soda, or stored it underground.

The team claims that up to two kilograms of carbon dioxide can be removed for every 12,800 miles the car travels per year using its ‘direct air capture technology’.

If the technology were rolled out to the millions of cars on the road around the world, it has the potential to make a real contribution to reducing greenhouse gases.

The student engineers, who have previously made cars from recycled plastic waste, have also designed the car in such a way that as much as possible can be recycled at the end of its life.

The interior is also made of sustainable materials such as pineapple leather and recycled plastic, and the windows are made of polycarbonate.

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

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

The engineers, who have previously made cars from recycled plastic waste, have designed the car so that as much 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 can be cleaned and the captured carbon emptied into a tank while the car is being charged.

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

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

The interior of the car is made of sustainable pineapple leather and recycled plastic

The interior of the car is made of sustainable pineapple leather and recycled plastic

The interior of the car is made of sustainable pineapple leather and recycled plastic

Due to the solar panels on the roof of the car, it can also be used as an external battery for a house.

A spokesperson for the team said: “Another emerging technology being implemented in Zem is bi-directional charging.

‘The bi-directional charging technology makes it possible for cars to provide energy to houses when no sustainable energy is being generated at that time.

‘You can see Zem as a kind of external battery for your house, which supplies the house with green energy when needed.

‘The bi-directional charging technology is linked to solar panels mounted on the roof of the car.

‘In this way, Zem uses both the batteries and the space on the roof to make the vehicle and its environment more sustainable, even when it is not driving.’

Due to the solar panels on the roof, the car can also be used as an external battery for a house

Due to the solar panels on the roof, the car can also be used as an external battery for a house

Due to the solar panels on the roof, the car can also be used as an external battery for a house

‘We want to stimulate the industry by showing what is already possible,’ says Nikki Okkels, external relations manager of the team.

‘If 35 students can design, develop and build an almost CO2-neutral car in a year, then there are also opportunities and possibilities for the industry.

‘We call on the industry to take up the challenge, and of course we like to think along with them.

‘We have not yet finished development and want to take major steps in the coming years. We cordially 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 make a fully carbon 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 plans to make a fully carbon neutral car by 2030.  The Polestar 2 (pictured) gets a sustainability statement

Zem's announcement comes just over a year after electric car company Polestar announced its plans to make a fully carbon neutral car by 2030.  The Polestar 2 (pictured) gets a sustainability statement

Zem’s announcement comes just over a year after electric car company Polestar announced its plans to make a fully carbon neutral car by 2030. The Polestar 2 (pictured) gets a sustainability statement

Scientists develop train car that can remove 3,000 tons of CO2 from the air per year

As it stands, train travel is not carbon neutral, with travel representing 14 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per passenger mile.

However, that could change with a new train that actively removes CO2 from the air while driving.

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

The CO2 can then be separated from the air, turned into a liquid and stored in the car until it can be emptied.

The researchers believe that this is more cost-effective than other direct air capture (DAC) solutions, as the carriages can be retrofitted to trains that are already in use.

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

Read more here

Illustration of the CO2Rail railcar that can actively remove carbon dioxide from the air as it moves.  The carbon dioxide (CO2) can then be separated from the air, turned into a liquid and stored in the car until it can be emptied

Illustration of the CO2Rail railcar that can actively remove carbon dioxide from the air as it moves.  The carbon dioxide (CO2) can then be separated from the air, turned into a liquid and stored in the car until it can be emptied

Illustration of the CO2Rail railcar that can actively remove carbon dioxide from the air as it moves. The carbon dioxide (CO2) can then be separated from the air, turned into a liquid and stored in the car until it can be emptied

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