Recently, a student team called TU/Ecomotive from the Eindhoven University of Technology has developed a sustainable and eco-friendly electric car that captures more carbon dioxide (CO₂) than it emits. This prototype car called Zem purifies the air using a special filter inside it.

TU/Ecomotive said that they will continue to improve the vehicle in coming years to make it carbon neutral from production until recycling. TU/Ecomotive is now applying for a patent for their special filter.

This innovative and eco-friendly electric car can capture about 2 kilograms of CO2 through its filter at 20,000 travel miles per year. This means that ten cars can store as much carbon dioxide as an average tree. Zem can contribute to reducing global warming by storing the captured CO₂ and then disposing of it.

An electric car is presented that purifies the air of CO2 while driving
CO2 Capturing Concept Car ZEM by student team

The transport sector is a major polluter, producing about a quarter of the EU’s total carbon emissions a few years ago. Estimates say that the transport sector is a major polluter, producing about a quarter of the Europe Union’s total CO2 emissions. 60% of these carbon emissions are produced by passenger cars. 60% is a huge amount.

This huge amount of carbon produced by passenger cars was the major reason that the team wanted to develop a car that not only has low emissions but also captures CO2 while driving.

“It is 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. Capturing CO₂ is a prerequisite for compensating for emissions during production and recycling,” explains team manager Louise de Laat.

According to TU/Ecomotive, the team is thinking of a future where the filter can be emptied easily via the charging station when the car is charging. Now, the car can drive 320 kilometers before the filter is full.

When comparing to conditions in 2050, Europe should have reduced its CO2 emissions by 55% in 2030. In 2050, Europe should be the first climate-neutral continent, estimates say.

CO2 Capturing Concept Car ZEM by student team
CO2 Capturing Concept Car ZEM by student team

From construction to use and afterlife this passenger car is CO₂-neutral. The team uses 3D printing techniques for production. The monocoque and body panels are designed and manufactured via 3D printing which means there will be no residual waste. Also, the team prints circular plastics that can be shredded and reused for other projects.

“We want to tickle the industry by showing what is already possible. And working together. If 35 students can design, develop and build an almost carbon-neutral car in a year, then there are also opportunities and possibilities for the industry,” said Nikki Okkels, external relations manager at TU/Ecomotive.

“We call on the industry to pick up the challenge, and of course, we are happy to think along with them. We’re not finished developing yet either, and we want to take some big steps in the coming years. We warmly invite car manufacturers to come and take a look,” Okkels said.

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Bi-directional charging is another interesting technology we can see in Zem. Using the bi-directional charging technology, Zem will provide enough energy to power some home appliances inside our house. This means Zem can act as an external battery to a house, providing the house with green energy when needed.

Interestingly, The bi-directional charging technology has been paired with solar panels on the roof of the car. Zem leverages its batteries and the space on the roof to make the eco-friendly car more sustainable, even when the car not driving.

The team gives the sustainable electric car a sporty look.

Louis de Laat: “We are cleaning the air while driving and aiming to become completely CO2 neutral!”

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