Is Eindhoven University of Technology developing the most sustainable car in the world?
Eindhoven University of Technology and innovation (TU/e) have been a match for decades. The technical university comes up with one clever plan after another. And currently, the university developed Zem: a passenger car that captures more CO2 than it emits while driving. And it may well be the most sustainable car in the world.
Auto Zem has a special filter that purifies the air. Collected CO2 is stored and by eventually disposing it, the car ensures that it does not contribute to CO2 emissions. In the coming years, the students will continue to work on the car.
Zem could well be the most sustainable car in the world. A solution to a problem that is now getting bigger and bigger. After all, the transport sector is one of the major polluters on the planet: about a quarter of Europe’s total emissions can be attributed to this industry. The students’ new car can drive 320 kilometers with its filter before the filter is full. The idea is that that full filter can then be emptied at a charging station while the car is being charged.
That filter is the heart of the car. This ensures that the car captures 2 kilograms of CO2 at 20,000 kilometers. That means ten of these cars can store the same amount of carbon dioxide as a tree does on average. If five people will soon have such a car, it will not make any progress, but if everyone were to drive such a car, huge steps would be taken in combating emissions. It seems irreversible, but if more initiatives like this follow, our existence on earth may still be salvageable.
“It is really still a proof-of-concept, but we already see that we can increase the capacity of the filter in the coming years. Capture of CO₂ is a precondition for compensating for emissions during production and recycling,” explains team manager Louise de Laat. The students use, among other things, 3D printers to make the car: for example for the monocoque and the body panels. In addition, the student team prints circular plastics that can be reused for other projects.
Challenge for the automotive industry
The electric and durable four-wheeler has a sporty appearance. With good reason, because a sporting challenge awaits the car industry. Nikki Okkels, external relations manager at TU/ecomotive: “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 CO₂ neutral car in a year, then there are also opportunities and possibilities for the industry.”
This new car is certainly not just a technical tour de force. In fact, it is a letter to the manufacturers of cars, to make more use of sustainable methods and to invest fully in them. In any case, the students are ready to talk to people from that industry about their Zem. Until then, they will also continue to work on making this special four-wheeler even more sustainable.