The world’s first carbon-neutral car that removes carbon dioxide from the air while driving has been revealed

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

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

Air flows through a grille in the front of the car, which passes through a filter that separates and stores greenhouse gases.

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

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

Scientists have unveiled their design for the world's first 'zero carbon' car, which removes and stores carbon dioxide from the air as it is driven on the road.

Scientists have unveiled their design for the world’s first ‘zero carbon’ car, which removes and stores carbon dioxide from the air as it is driven on the road.

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

Air flows through the grille in the front of the car, then passes through a filter that separates and stores greenhouse gases

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

The Zem filter currently reaches its capacity after about 200 miles, when it has collected about 30 grams of gaseous carbon dioxide.  Filters can be cleaned or replaced and the carbon dioxide captured while charging the electric vehicle is discharged

The Zem filter currently reaches its capacity after about 200 miles, when it has collected about 30 grams of gaseous carbon dioxide. Filters can be cleaned or replaced and the carbon dioxide captured while charging the electric vehicle is discharged

How does a ZEM car 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 stirred.

“Clean” air flows out of the car from the front wheels.

When the filter collects about 30 grams of carbon dioxide, it can be replaced while the vehicle is charging.

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

It’s still really a proof of concept, but we can already see that we’ll be able to increase filter capacity in the coming years.

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

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

Filters can be cleaned or replaced and the carbon dioxide captured while the electric vehicle is being charged.

While it’s unclear what will happen to the gas after it’s collected from the filter, past projects have used carbon dioxide to make building materials and baking soda, or store it underground.

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

If the technology is deployed to millions of cars on the road worldwide, it has the potential to make a real contribution to reducing greenhouse gases.

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

Its interiors are also made from sustainable materials like pineapple leather and recycled plastic, and its windows are made of polycarbonate.

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

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

The Zem filter currently reaches capacity after about 200 miles, but the filters can be cleaned and the carbon captured in the tank is emptied while the vehicle is charging.

The Zem filter currently reaches capacity after about 200 miles, but the filters can be cleaned and the carbon captured in the tank is emptied while the vehicle is charging.

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

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

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

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

Two-way charging technology enables cars to provide energy to homes when no renewable energy is being generated at that moment.

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

Two-way charging technology is paired with solar panels that are implemented on the roof of the vehicle.

In this way, Zem takes advantage of the batteries and the space on the roof to make the vehicle and its surroundings more sustainable, even when not driving.

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

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

“We want to tickle the industry by showing what’s really possible,” said the team’s director of external relations, Nikki Oakels.

If 35 students can design, develop, and build a virtually carbon-neutral car in a year, there are also opportunities and possibilities for the industry.

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

We haven’t finished developing yet either, and we want to take some big steps in the coming years. We warmly invite car manufacturers to come and have a look.

The announcement of Zem comes just over a year after electric car company Polestar announced its plans to create a completely climate-neutral car by 2030.

To achieve this, it hopes to eliminate all carbon emissions from the production process through the use of renewable energy throughout the supply chain, recycled materials and innovative design.

The announcement of Zem comes just over a year after electric car company Polestar announced its plans to create a completely climate-neutral car by 2030. Polestar 2 (pictured) will be given a sustainability announcement

The announcement of Zem comes just over a year after electric car company Polestar announced its plans to create a completely climate-neutral car by 2030. Polestar 2 (pictured) will be given a sustainability announcement

Scientists develop a train car that can remove 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the air annually

As it stands, train travel isn’t carbon neutral, with trips accounting for 0.4 ounces (14 grams) of carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile traveled.

However, that can be set to change with a new train that removes carbon dioxide from the air as it moves.

A US-based startup called CO2Rail Company is working with engineers at the University of Sheffield and the University of Toronto to develop massive air vents that absorb air as the train moves.

The carbon dioxide can then be separated from the air, turned into a liquid, and stored inside the wagon until it can be emptied.

The researchers believe this is more cost-effective than other direct air capture (DAC) solutions, as the wagons can be modified for trains already in service.

They claim that each car can remove up to 3,000 tons of CO2 per year in the near term.

Read more here

Illustration of a CO2Rail train that can remove carbon dioxide from the air as it moves.  The carbon dioxide (CO2) can then be separated from the air and turned into a liquid and stored inside the vehicle until it can be emptied

Illustration of a CO2Rail train that can remove carbon dioxide from the air as it moves. The carbon dioxide (CO2) can then be separated from the air and turned into a liquid and stored inside the vehicle until it can be emptied

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