Sustainability Stories: Students Build Car That Captures Carbon

A team of 35 students have built a sustainable electric passenger car that captures more carbon dioxide than it emits.

The Zero Emissions Mobility car, or ZEM for short, uses a special filter to purify the air while driving, capturing CO2 and storing it for subsequent disposal.

The car can capture two kilograms of CO2 at 20,000 miles per year. That means ten ZEM cars can store as much carbon as an average tree.

The students said their goal is for drivers to empty their CO2-filled filter at a charging station when the car stops to recharge. The car can drive 320 kilometres before the filter is full.

“It’s really still a proof-of-concept, but we can already see that we will be able to increase the capacity of the filter in the coming years,” says team manager Louise de Laat. “Capturing CO2 is a prerequisite for compensating for emissions during production and recycling.”

Acknowledging that electric vehicles produce emissions during their manufacturing, the team said it wants to make ZEM carbon-neutral for its entire lifecycle. The structural shell and body panels were manufactured using 3D printing, resulting in almost no waste.

As the electrification of our transportation system gains momentum, innovations like the ZEM not only address the emissions challenge but also inspire us to think beyond traditional solutions.

It also highlights the importance of tech as we move forward with efforts to take on the climate crisis.

Image credit: Reuters

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