Dutch students test-drive the world’s first off-road solar vehicle in Morocco

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**VIDEO AVAILABLE: CONTACT [email protected] TO RECEIVE** Eindhoven University of Technology TU/Ecomotive team have unveiled the Zem - a solar powered car that removes carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air as you drive. The team of 30 students set themselves the goal of designing and building a sustainable car in a year to lay down a challenge to the automotive industry to step up its efforts to tackle climate change. The transport sector is a major polluter, producing about a quarter of the EU’s total CO2 emissions a few years ago - and passenger cars are responsible for more than 60 percent of these emissions. Not only is the concept car solar-powered, it actually removes CO2 using a technology called “direct air capturing”. Direct air capture is a fairly new method of cleaning the air by capturing CO2 into a filter. The idea is very simple: while driving, air will move through our self-designed filters and the CO2 will be captured and stored. The compatibility of materials, easy separation, and the use of additives among other features determine the recyclability of Zem. By designing most parts within our car to be reusable or recyclable, the team also made sure the Zem’s ecological impact is lowered than even green “conventional” cars. In the production, the students collaborated with partners as CEAD and Royal3D, and developed the monocoque and the body panels to be fully 3D-printable. By 3D-printing these parts of Zem, the exact shape that was needed could be printed and almost no waste material was produced. Printing these car parts with circular plastics that can be shredded and re-used for other projects, contributes even more to our goal of having very low to no CO2 emissions during all life phases. Even the car’s tyres are environmentally friendly, as they draw on tyres to recycle carbon black - a material that is usually wasted. This circular approach not only solves an important waste management problem, but also drastically

Students from Eindhoven University of Technology undertook a 1,000-kilometre (622 miles) test drive of the Stella Terra, presented as the world’s first off-road solar vehicle by its creators. Designed for rugged and challenging terrains, a two-seater vehicle, is equipped with solar roof panels and can cover a distance of 630 kilometres on a sunny day, with an off-road range of approximately 550 kilometres.

This journey aimed to highlight the potential of sustainable transportation. The students conducted an extensive testing of Stella Terra, initiating a journey in northern Morocco, covering over a thousand kilometres through diverse landscapes, ultimately concluding their expedition in the Sahara, all powered by solar energy.

Stella Terra utilizes solar power from its rooftop panels, eliminating the need for charging stations or fuel.

On October 15, the team successfully completed their solar-powered journey, and Stella Terra exceeded expectations, requiring only a few minor adjustments along the way, such as the replacement of a broken steering rod. The team asserted that their vehicle surpassed expectations, achieving a 30% reduction in energy consumption compared to initial estimates. Their specially designed converter for the solar panels proved to be more efficient at converting sunlight absorbed by the solar cells into electrical energy than anticipated.

The people involved in this project declared the innovations by the Solar Team Eindhoven have the potential to reshape the future, and anticipate that in the next five to ten years, electric vehicles will become an integral part of our overall energy grid system. With the advent of home batteries, it may even become possible to generate energy through a solar car and feed it back to your home.

 

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