ZEM car captures CO2 from the air while driving

A team from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands have designed and built a prototype of an electric vehicle called a ZEM (Zero Emission Mobility) car. This car is capable of capturing carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the air while driving.

ZEM car (source TUecomotive)
ZEM car (source TUecomotive)

ZEM car captures and stores CO2 while driving

While you are driving, the ZEM car’s Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology will remove CO₂ from the air.

When the ZEM car is in motion, the air passes through a unique filter that is located behind the front grill. The filter has CO₂ sorbents in it, which remove CO₂ from the air as it passes through. Two filters in the ZEM car have the capacity to absorb up to 2 kilograms of CO₂ as it travels 30,000 kilometers. Around 10 ZEM cars can absorb the same amount of carbon as a typical tree. When the filters have reached their maximum capacity for CO₂, the gas can then be released and reused for making fuel or even in the production of beer.

ZEM car is an electric vehicle (EV)

The ZEM car is a zero-emission mobility vehicle because it runs on a rechargeable battery that receives its charge from solar panels mounted on the hood and roof of the vehicle. These panels contribute about 15% of the car’s total power.

Cleantron, a company based in the Netherlands, is the supplier of the batteries, and Watllab is the provider of the solar panels. In addition, there is a standard plug-in connection hidden behind the license plate on the back of the ZEM car. Additionally, the development team incorporated bi-directional charging technology so that the ZEM car could be used as a generator to power home electronics and appliances.

ZEM car is built with sustainable materials

The ZEM car is designed to be sustainable throughout its entire lifecycle.

The shell and many other parts are 3D printed using circular plastics, allowing to minimize the production waste. When the vehicle is recycled, the materials that were used to make the shell and many of the other parts can be shredded and reused. The carpeting, roof lining, and upholstery are all made of plastic that has been salvaged from the oceans. The residue used to make the upholstery comes from the processing of pineapples. Even the coating and tires of the vehicle are made of recycled black carbon derived from previously driven automobile tires.

DAC car: every EV can be a DAC device

The term “Direct Air Capture (DAC)” refers to a process that removes CO₂ directly from the atmosphere. After that, the CO₂ can then be either permanently stored in deep geological formations, thereby achieving CO₂ removal, or used as a climate-neutral feedstock for a range of products that require a source of carbon.

The basic principle of conventional DAC involves using large-scale machines or facilities equipped with specialized filters or sorbents which are designed to attract and bind with CO₂ molecules from the air while allowing other gasses, such as nitrogen and oxygen, to pass through. After the CO₂ is captured, it is separated from the sorbent through a regeneration process, resulting in the release of CO₂, allowing for its storage or utilization.

However, the large-scale deployment of conventional DAC technologies remains a challenge. This is due to the fact that the cost of DAC technology is more expensive per ton of CO₂ removed in comparison to the cost of many mitigation strategies.

DAC Technology that was integrated into the ZEM car is a forward-thinking approach to cutting down on carbon emissions. This demonstrates the potential for incorporating carbon capture methods into transportation systems and vehicles as a means of contributing to the fight against climate change.

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