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Car Emissions: Recycle Them

While scientists are searching for an auto fuel that does not release dangerous greenhouse gases, other researchers are working on a strategy to capture, store and eventually recycle carbon dioxide from vehicles to prevent the pollutant from finding its way from car tailpipes into the atmosphere.

Technologies to capture carbon dioxide emissions from large-scale sources such as power plants have recently gained some impressive ground, but nearly two-thirds of global carbon emissions are created by much smaller polluters, especially cars and other transportation vehicles.

Researcher Andrei Fedorov wants to process fossil or synthetic carbon-containing liquid fuel in a way that allows for the capture and recycling of carbon at the point of emission. In the long term, this strategy would enable the development of a sustainable transportation system with no carbon emissions. He says, "Presently, we have an unsustainable carbon-based economy with several severe limitations, including a limited supply of fossil fuels, high cost and carbon dioxide pollution." His goal is to design a zero emission car, leading to a transportation system that is completely free of fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, another researcher thinks he has solved the problem by creating a car that runs on compressed air. Roger Harrabin reports in BBC News that "an engineer has promised that within a year he will start selling a car that runs on compressed air, producing no emissions at all in town." It will be call the OneCAT, and will have 5 seats and a fiberglass body. It will cost around $3,000. You'll need an air compressor to fill the tank, but this will take only 3 minutes.

And how will it do in a crash? BBC quotes inventor Guy Negre as saying that if the air-car crashes the air tanks won't shatter, they will split with a very loud bang. "The biggest risk is to the ears."

It's taken a long time, but the dream of an automobile that does not spew out greenhouse gases may finally be coming true.

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