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Dutch Students Create an Electric Car that Cleans the Air While You Drive it

A Team of Students From the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands Has Created a Prototype of a Vehicle that Absorbs Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) When Used.

Electric cart 'Zem'

Photo: TU Eindhoven

LatinAmerican Post | Joshua Radesca

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Leer en español: Crean un automóvil eléctrico que limpia el aire mientras lo conduces

The automotive industry is one of the most polluting in the world, it generates various gases that negatively impact the environmental balance of the entire planet. One of the most harmful is carbon dioxide (CO₂). The United States Environmental Protection Agency ensures that this is the main greenhouse gas that is emitted as a result of human activities. It also states that “burning fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel to transport people and goods was the largest source of CO₂ emissions in 2017, at about 34.2% of total US CO₂ emissions.”

Given this, electric cars for years have been presented as a healthier option for the environment, since they do not emit the harmful gases of combustion engines. A team of students from the Eindhoven University of Technology wanted to take a step forward in the development of low-impact automotive technology and created an electric car with the ability to collect CO₂ while driving. Thus, this car, named Zem, not only does not pollute, it also helps purify the environment.

In this article, we will tell you what you need to know about this innovative car.

Clean the air while driving

TU/ecomotive, the student team behind Zem, has achieved the feat of creating a car that instead of emitting CO₂, captures it and helps clean the air. For this, they used a technology called "direct air capture", which works with filters. “The idea is very simple: as you drive, the air will move through our self-designed filters and the CO₂ will be captured and stored,” explain the creators.

According to The Daily Beast portal, the prototype manages to absorb approximately two kilograms of carbon dioxide after traveling about 20,000 miles. For their part, the creators affirm that after this first advance, the capacity of this technology can be expanded. Likewise, they assure that its massive use would have a significant impact in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

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The commitment to minimize the environmental impact

A car in its manufacture, use and disposal produces polluting agents. The creators of Zem focused on reducing as much as possible the polluting waste that could be generated in the development of their prototype. For this reason, in the elaboration phase, they used 3D printers. This allowed the monocoque and body panels to be created exactly as needed. Thus, almost no waste material was produced. During its period of use, as already indicated, the vehicle does not generate polluting gases and also cleans the air. Finally, in the disposal stage, the vehicle components are designed to be reusable and easy to recycle. All of the above creates an important contrast between the CO₂ emissions involved in the construction, use and disposal of this car compared to conventional cars.

“Our long-term ambition is for the car to become completely CO₂-neutral in all phases of life,” say the creators.

Two-way charging powered by solar panels

The team behind Zem plans to equip the vehicle with bidirectional charging technology. This means that the car will serve as an external battery that can power homes. To do this, they will combine bidirectional charging technology with solar panels located on the roof of the car.

A challenge for large companies in the sector

This project not only seeks to innovate at a technological level, it also aims to challenge the industry. "We are inspiring the automotive industry to analyze the complete life cycle of its cars," say those responsible for the project. "We want to challenge the industry with this concept car, if it's possible for 30 students to create a sustainable car in a year, why isn't the industry taking major action?"

All in all, this is quite a promising technology. If it were to be optimized and implemented on a large scale, it could chart a new course for the automotive industry and its weight on the environment.