I like this very much: a vehicle that behaves like a plant, photosynthesizing carbon dioxide from the air and exchanging oxygen back into the atmosphere. Meet the YeZ, a concept two-seater that makes other eco cars blush when it comes to zero and even negative emissions.
Showcased recently at the Shanghai Expo 2010, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC)--perhaps driven by the mainland's extensive pollution--is behind this clever little creation in partnership with General Motors and Volkswagen. YeZ, pronounced yea-zi, which means "leaf" in Mandarin, also lends its name to the aesthetics and big, leaf-like roof of the buggy (though I'll cross my fingers and toes that the commercial version won't look quite so kitschy).
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 carbon dioxide 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.
According to the press release, the electric car will "work during both sunny and overcast days, while also being able to leverage wind power" and enable "mobility with zero greenhouse gas emissions." But that's a claim that will have to wait a good 20 years to flower. Hopefully, we won't all be wearing respirators by then just to breathe in some clean air.