News Business & Policy Toyota Engineers New Flower Species to Absorb Emissions at Prius Factories By Brian Merchant Writer UC Santa Barbara Brian Merchant is the author of The One Device, editor for OneZero, and is writing a book about Luddites. He lives in Los Angeles. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Brian Merchant Updated October 11, 2018 Migrated Image Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices Toyota has long faced the criticism that the process of manufacturing Priuses has a larger environmental impact than most cars. So the giant automaker came up with what's probably the most bizarre solution imaginable--Toyota genetically engineered two brand new species of flowers to absorb greenhouse gases at Prius manufacturing plants. While, you know, still making the place look pretty. The flowers have been engineered specifically to absorb nitrogen oxides, and remove heat from the atmosphere. Fast Company explains: "Toyota's flowers are derivatives of cherry sage and gardenia that effectively absorb nitrogen oxides and remove heat from the atmosphere." The absorbed gases makes for lowered surface temperatures around the factory grounds--which means less energy used on cooling the plant. But what's so special about the new flower species? According to Drive, The sage derivative's leaves have unique characteristics that absorb harmful gases, while the gardenia's leaves create water vapour in the air, reducing the surface temperature of the factory surrounds and, therefore, reducing the energy needed for cooling, in turn producing less carbon dioxide (CO2). The new flowers are Toyota's latest attempt to make the oft-criticized Prius manufacturing process less emissions-intensive. And while many are skeptical about how effective they'll actually be, credit should be give to the company for coming up with inventive, unconventional solutions.