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Dutch students devise carbon-eating electric vehicle

By Dan Fastenberg

(Reuters) - The sporty all-electric car from the Netherlands resembles a BMW coupe, but is unique: It captures more carbon than it emits.

"Our end goal is to create a more sustainable future," said Jens Lahaije, finance manager for TU/ecomotive, the Eindhoven University of Technology student team that created the car.

Called ZEM, for zero emission mobility, the two-seater houses a Cleantron lithium-ion battery pack, and most of its parts are 3D-printed from recycled plastics, Lahaije said.

The target is to minimize carbon dioxide emitted during the car's full lifespan, from manufacturing to recycling, he added.

Battery electric vehicles emit virtually no CO2 during operation compared with combustion-engine vehicles, but battery cell production can create so much pollution that it can take EVs tens of thousands of miles to achieve "carbon parity" with comparable fossil-fueled models.

ZEM uses two filters that can capture up to 2 kilograms (4.41 lb) of CO2 over 20,000 miles of driving, the Eindhoven team estimated. They imagine a future when filters can be emptied at charging stations.

The students are showing their vehicle on a U.S. promotional tour to universities and companies from the East Coast to Silicon Valley.

(Reporting by Dan Fastenberg and Hussein al Waaile in New York; Writing by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Richard Chang)