How does the electric car that absorbs CO2 during operation work?


The ZEM is another project of Eindhoven University of Technology, which has already participated in Lightyear 0 and Stella Vita

Max Verstappen won the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend, taking his 8th victory out of 13 races this year. He is 80 points ahead of Charles Leclerc with 9 races to go. Even though it shouldn’t be over, Everything indicates that the Dutchman will be world champion againextending his current reign by one year. But in the Netherlands there are other reasons to celebrate the success of its representatives in the automotive world.

This year, after a long development, the Lightyear 0 became the world’s first production solar electric car, placing the country at the pinnacle of sustainable mobility technology. And yet, there are other projects born in the land of tulipswhich have been fully developed there, and which offer alternative modes of green propulsion. And both were the product of a team formed in the Eindhoven University of Technology.

35 students make up the team called Solar Team Eindhoven, creator of the ZEM
35 students make up the team called Solar Team Eindhoven, creator of the ZEM

The first was a mobile home called Stella Vitawhich works thanks to a large surface of solar panels on its roof and on two fold-out appendages when he is detained at the place of destination. The group is called Solar Team Eindhoven and it is made up of some of those who were also involved in the making of the aforementioned Lightyear.

The second project just unveiled is called ZEM, and it’s another electric-powered, solar-harnessed car, but it’s also the most neutral of any electric car in the world. According to the university itself, not only does it not emit CO2 into the atmosphere, but it is built with materials that produce minimal carbon dioxide in its manufacturing process, and it is able to absorb carbon from the air as they work.

The two large air intakes up front do not cool an internal combustion engine, but rather intakes for filters that capture CO2 as the car rolls down the street.
The two large air intakes up front do not cool an internal combustion engine, but rather intakes for filters that capture CO2 as the car rolls down the street.

The ZEM is a monocoque with body panels whose manufacture used additive techniques that reduce material waste, in addition to using recycled and recyclable plastics, pineapple leather, polycarbonate to replace glass, and the lighting system and infotainment are modular, allowing use in other products outside the car.

At the engine level, the ZEM features nine 2.3 kWh modular batteries to power the just 22 kW electric motor or its 29.5 hp equivalent, and has a regenerative system that allows these batteries to be partially recharged with electric braking or motor deceleration. This recharging, in addition to that which can be done from an electrical outlet, it also receives additional power from the solar panels on the roof and hood.

In addition, being built with recycled and recyclable materials, the ZEM has less impact than the standard in its manufacturing process.
In addition, being built with recycled and recyclable materials, the ZEM has less impact than the standard in its manufacturing process.

But what caught the attention of the ZEM the most was its ability to capture CO2 from the air. It does this through its grille, equipped with a direct carbon dioxide capture system as the vehicle moves forward. The creators reported that thanks to this device they can be eliminated up to 2 kilograms of CO2 for 20,600 km traveled at a speed of 60 km/h. Although that seems like a small sum, if every car in the world had a similar system, the reduction could be substantial.

This capture is done in a filter which must be replaced every 320 km and must be washed, ideally with sustainable energy, and the CO2 must be bottled in tanks which, in the ecosystem of the project, must be installed at the same points electric charging.

Like any project of the Eindhoven University of Technology, the ZEM has solar panels to capture photovoltaic energy for its batteries
Like any project of the Eindhoven University of Technology, the ZEM has solar panels to capture photovoltaic energy for its batteries

Members of the team and ZEM will travel to the United States next August to visit universities and companies, showing his work. The idea is to infect others so the system can spread quickly.

“We want to tickle the industry by showing what is already possible”, said Nikki Okkels, head of external relations for the group. Adding that “If in one year, 35 students have been able to design, develop and build an almost carbon-neutral car, the opportunities are much greater at the industrial level.

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