A Step Closer to a Zero Emission Car?

Take two promising technologies - alternative energy and carbon capture - add a dash of ingenuity, and you may have the ideal recipe for a zero emission car. Or so a team of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology hope: they've developed a technology to store and eventually recycle the carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles.

They envision a system that could trap the carbon emissions - which would be collected and processed at a fueling station - and reuse them to power vehicles, thus forming a sustainable closed-loop system. The scientists are currently working on a fuel processing device to separate the carbon dioxide from the hydrogen and store it in liquid form; the hydrogen would be used as a fuel source.Andrei Fedorov, a professor at the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and a lead researcher on the project, explained that - in the short term - his team plans on finalizing the design of the onboard fuel processor, called CO2/H2 Active Membrane Piston (CHAMP) reactor. By producing the hydrogen fuel onboard, the CHAMP reactor avoids introducing air into the process, creating a liquefied, easy-to-capture carbon by-product (while eschewing the need for a costly, elaborate hydrogen infrastructure).

The stored carbon dioxide will first be transported to a central location, after which it will be sequestered at one of several permanent sites - under the oceans, in geological formations - under investigation by the researchers. In the future, Fedorov hopes to take the carbon dioxide and synthesize a high energy density liquid fuel from it that would be suitable for all vehicles.

Image courtesy of Georgia Tech

See also: ::Microcab: An Urban Zero-Emissions Taxi Cab, ::Greenbox: Captures Carbon Dioxide to Make Biodiesel