TU/E innovation: A passenger car that absorbs CO2

CO2 absorbing car Zem by TU/e student team Picture credit: Bart van Overbeeke

TU/e has excellent news for innovation enthusiasts. The latest scoop? A passenger car that absorbs CO2 from the air while driving.

Recently, the university announced the creation of URE15, an autonomous, electric racing car. Then an electric racing car that charges in record time was highly praised. Now, it is a passenger car that absorbs CO2 from the air while driving.

The prototype called Zem purifies the air with a special filter. In the coming years, the TU/e Ecomotive student team wants to improve the technology with the aim of making the car CO2-neutral over its entire life cycle.

Ten percent of a tree 

And that is an extremely useful application at a time when the adverse effects of climate change are evident. Zem can store about 2 kilos of CO2 in 20,000 kilometres. That’s about a tenth of what a tree captures.

One billion cars

“That may not seem like much, but the total yield is significant if you were to use it on a large scale in every passenger car,” advocates the team. “After all, there are more than a billion passenger cars on the planet, which in this way can capture net CO₂ instead of emitting it while driving. Besides, we already see that we can increase the capacity of the filter in the coming years.”

The students have applied for a patent and see opportunities for the future. A few years ago, the transport sector was responsible for about a quarter of CO2 emissions in the EU. According to the TU/e, passenger cars contribute sixty percent of CO2 emissions from the transport sector.


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