YeZ: The Car that Acts Like a Plant

May 21, 2010 by Miranda Marquit weblog
Image source: http://news.drive.au

(PhysOrg.com) -- What if there was an eco-friendly car that acted like a plant? It would take in CO2, and its exhaust would be oxygen. That's exactly what the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation unveiled at the Shanghai Expo 2010 recently. The YeZ is a concept car designed to photosynthesize carbon dioxide from the air, much like a plant. The car is even designed to emphasize the idea of a eco-friendly through a plant-like process.

Not only will this green make use of photosynthesis for generation, but it will also be able to utilize wind power. CNET describes how the YeZ works:

YeZ works its magic of photoelectric conversion with the help of state-of-the-art solar panels on the roof, wind power conversion via small wind turbines in the wheels, and absorption and conversion through the bodywork. This last bit is made of a metal-organic framework that can apparently absorb carbon dioxide and water molecules from the air. Through the series of chemical reactions, energy is generated, and it's then stored in the car's lithium ion batteries.

The car is a two-seater, though, and doesn't appear to have much room for luggage. And, of course, it is only a concept. It might take as many as 20 years for this to be available -- if it is something that happens at all. But the YeZ does offer us some insight into what might be possible if we start looking more to the natural environment for solutions to our pollution problems.


Explore further: Indonesia passes law to tap volcano power

More information: Juniper Foo, "YeZ concept car sucks in C02, exhales oxygen," CNET (May 20, 2010). Available online: news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20005538-1.html

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User comments : 20

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Skeptic_Heretic
May 21, 2010
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Shootist
May 21, 2010
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jwalkeriii
May 21, 2010
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jtdrexel
May 21, 2010
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CHollman82
2 / 5 (4) May 21, 2010
wind turbines in the wheels?

Isn't that basically just another alternator?

All it would seem to do is convert the mechanical energy produced by the engine to electrical energy...
NotAsleep
4.5 / 5 (2) May 21, 2010
This last bit is made of a metal-organic framework that can apparently absorb carbon dioxide and water molecules from the air.


Key word: "apparently"

The observer apparently had no idea how (or if) this works
ArtflDgr
1 / 5 (2) May 21, 2010
the builder designers have no idea how to make it work

its a dilbert marketing thing where they think that engineers can make anything but just dont want to
PinkElephant
4.3 / 5 (6) May 21, 2010
ROFLMAO

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of alternative energy. But when it comes to nonsensical greenwashing, this one takes the cake.

First of all, the amount of energy from sunlight that falls on a square meter of Earth surface on a clear day at noon near the equator, is about 1 KW: when summing across the entire spectrum. Account for inefficiency of capture and conversion losses, and you'd need many square meters to power even the whispiest of contraptions with even the best state-of-the-art solar cells. The total photoelectric surface area of this wonder seems to be under 1 square meter.

Wind turbines in wheels, capturing energy?!? You mean, the same energy the car expends trying to MOVE in the first place? LMAO Sure, why not aero-brake yourself, for improved efficiency. 8D)))

Generating energy from CO2/H2O reaction? Photosynthesis doesn't generate energy: it CONSUMES energy (from the sun), storing it in carbohydrates. Are they going to charge a battery with ATP? LMAO.
optimacy
May 21, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
ArtflDgr
2.5 / 5 (4) May 21, 2010
Spain confirms that the country's "green economy" policies — the model for the Obama administration's "green jobs" efforts — have been a disaster: expensive, ineffective, and unworkable.... (referring to the leaked report and article in spanish press)

excellent points though optimacy...

i have tried many ways to explain the solar energy thing and one problem is that they have no feel for what energy is required to do the things they commonly do. a recent incident with a Phd had me design something that could give him one he wanted in an area around his specs, but if i were to gauge his beliefs vs reality, well...

he thought a 9 volt battery could light to few UV LEDS at a 7 inch distance to be equal to the suns UV level at ground, and do this for over 5 hours.

i said it aint going to happen...

Now i just tell them that there is a reason plants don't run and things that eat plants do.
EgadsNo
1 / 5 (3) May 21, 2010
"First of all, the amount of energy from sunlight that falls on a square meter of Earth surface on a clear day at noon near the equator, is about 1 KW:..."

PV cell calculations often use this, because they generally only absorb light hitting them straight on. They are also pretty 2d- so you wind up only mainly concerned with the solar insolation. What you fail to factor in is that this car is a 3d shape- and solar insolation can very easily only account for 1/10th of the available solar energy per cubic meter at the surface depending on geography. Also it utilizes a chemical reaction to release energy catalyzed by the sun. Is it efficient in terms of making the material vs output? I would not think so. But could be possible.

By your logic standing in the center of a desert caldera with only a tinfoil umbrella should leave you impervious to the suns wrath and render you a indistinguishable silhouette.
PinkElephant
4 / 5 (4) May 21, 2010
@EgadsNo,
solar insolation can very easily only account for 1/10th of the available solar energy per cubic meter
How do you think "solar energy" gets into the interior of a volume, unless it must first pass through the volume's bounding surface? If you intercept the energy at the surface, it won't be available in the interior any longer, would it? It's an arcane phenomenon we scientific sophisticates refer to as "shade". Or are you proposing that the car collect ambient heat instead, and utilize it to do work, counter to the 2nd law of thermodynamics?
Also it utilizes a chemical reaction to release energy catalyzed by the sun.
Photosynthesis is ENDOTHERMIC. It doesn't release energy; it CONSUMES energy. On the other hand, the products of photosynthesis can be burned to release the stored energy. It's what makes conventional cars run, you know...
goldengod
not rated yet May 21, 2010
Unless the total amount of energy generated by the technology is more than the total amount of energy consumed to create the technology to outcome is net energy negative.
DaveGee
not rated yet May 21, 2010
Someone just try and tell me this vehicle does NOT belong in a Sid & Marty Krofft 70s kid show.

Linky For the youngins....

http://tvmunchies...t-shows/

hard2grep
1 / 5 (1) May 22, 2010
This is a concept car. It is only meant to express the direction a company is going with technology. While the car itself is probably not close to being a working model, You can extrapolate what a company is up to behind closed doors. The tech presented is not effective for vehicle propulsion. I felt that the whole windthing was akin to putting a generator in back and a motor in front. While it would be nice if it worked, it displays a huge gap in logic.
MaxwellsDemon
5 / 5 (1) May 22, 2010
@EgadsNo,
Or are you proposing that the car collect ambient heat instead, and utilize it to do work, counter to the 2nd law of thermodynamics?


...if only they could capture the right demon for the job... >=D
ForFreeMinds
1 / 5 (3) May 22, 2010
But does it move and how fast and how far? That they didn't want to report this suggests, as ArtflDgr notes, it's like marketing in Dilbert. I suppose their objective is to receive government funding to pay their salaries.
Newbeak
not rated yet May 22, 2010
If the wind turbines were arrayed in the direction of travel,they would be worse than useless,as they would consume more power (air resistance) than they generated.However,mounting them 90 degrees to the direction of travel would produce some usable power in crosswinds.The pictures show the turbines mounted on a solid wheel (for aesthetics?).I assume the production turbines would be mounted on a wire spoked wheel so as not to impede airflow.
EgadsNo
not rated yet May 22, 2010
How do you think "solar energy" gets into the interior of a volume, unless it must first pass through the volume's bounding surface?


What relevance does any of your post have as a retort to my comment? I simply said you cannot only count solar insolation for all solar applications. That is fine for traditional panel PV cause they require direct light hitting relatively perpendicular.

Also no kidding photosynthesis uses energy to make sugar- but just as light can be used to create complex molecules like sugar- it can also break apart molecules and release their bond energy...

You seem to be pulling alot of nonsense out of my comment perhaps you should work on your reading comprehension and worry less about facts.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (1) May 22, 2010
@EgadsNo,
said you cannot only count solar insolation for all solar applications.
Name one single "solar application" that does not rely on "solar insolation".
That is fine for traditional panel PV cause they require direct light hitting relatively perpendicular.
What aspect of the above-described car doesn't imply the requirement of "direct light"?
it can also break apart molecules and release their bond energy
Did you read the article, short as it is? They're talking specifically of photosynthesis, involving CO2 and H2O. Did you happen to notice the phrase, used in that context, and I quote: "Through the series of chemical reactions, energy is generated, and it's then stored in the car's lithium ion batteries." Please explain how electricity can be generated from CO2, H2O, and sunlight, in a manner that's more efficient than "state of the art" photoelectric panels.
perhaps you should work on your reading comprehension
Good advice; I suggest you take it.
ArtflDgr
1 / 5 (2) May 26, 2010
You can extrapolate what a company is up to behind closed doors.

like dropping acid and trying to get in touch with the inner child they lost to sid and marty croft?

and newbeak... ever wonder why they balance tires? personally i dont want to have to keep replacing wheel bearings because i have something that picks up crosswind forces, and is constantly unbalancing the load on my wheels

Shootist
1 / 5 (2) May 29, 2010
Pixie dust, part deux. The editors of the fine (sic) magazine don't like the term "pixie dust" when describing devices that run on Magic.

This car runs on Magic. It isn't real. It will never be real, at least as long as physics is physics.

The editors here allow "Electric Universe" and "Aether theory" (sic)) to be posted ad nauseum, but when something really stupid, like this Magic Car, comes along, they appear to bow to the Green god of Environmentalism (and it is a mentalism) and allow no deviation from the politically correct "norm" they, and only they, know.

Pixie dust, A thousand times, Pixie dust. By God, I'm being pithy.
Newbeak
not rated yet May 29, 2010
ArtflDgr: You place bearing loads hundreds of times what the wheel turbines would every time you turn a corner.The wheels would be perfectly balanced with or without wheel turbines.
ArtflDgr
1 / 5 (2) Jun 21, 2010
THen i guess newbeak dosnt know why they balance tires. i will bet that newbeak is either too young to drive, or doesnt own a car... and so never had to pay a large amout of money to have bearings replaced because the wheel wasnt balanced.

ever thought that if the wheel is balanced, the loads applied all aroudn the wheel, even in your scenario add up equally?

that is, when load is applied, the application is equal to all parts its applied to (not across all parts). in this way, balancing balanced loads for the rotating bearings... preventing flat spots longer and increasing life...
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 21, 2010
THen i guess newbeak dosnt know why they balance tires. i will bet that newbeak is either too young to drive, or doesnt own a car... and so never had to pay a large amout of money to have bearings replaced because the wheel wasnt balanced.

ever thought that if the wheel is balanced, the loads applied all aroudn the wheel, even in your scenario add up equally?

that is, when load is applied, the application is equal to all parts its applied to (not across all parts). in this way, balancing balanced loads for the rotating bearings... preventing flat spots longer and increasing life...

I am almost 60,so I have been around the block a few times.I still think the wheels could be balanced normally,and the forces exerted by cross winds would be about the same with or without a turbine.Maybe they would even be less,as the turbine would let some of the wind through,whereas a solid steel wheel would block 100% of the wind hitting it at 90%.