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EPFL scientists invent emission-free trucks

Researchers at EPFL Valais Wallis have patented a new technology that could cut trucks’ CO2 emissions by almost 90%.

A truck
In a world dominated by apocalyptic climate change news, a new technology developed at EPFL provides a glimpse of hope. ©Etat du Valais, François Perraudin

Climate change fueled by human-caused emissions is one of the greatest challenges the world faces today. Transport is a major polluter, responsible for nearly 30% of Europe’s total CO2 emissions. Scientists at EPFL Valais Wallis have come up with a promising solution to reduce CO2 emissions from commercial transport.

The project, coordinated by the Industrial Process and Energy Systems Engineering group at EPFL’s School of Engineering, involves capturing CO2 within the exhaust system, converting it into a liquid and storing it on the vehicle. The liquid CO2 is then delivered to a service station, where it is turned into conventional fuel using renewable energy. Only 10% of the CO2 emissions cannot be recycled through the process, and the researchers propose to offset that using biomass.

This system could work with all trucks, buses and even boats, and with any type of fuel. Unlike electric or hydrogen-based solutions, it can be retrofitted to existing trucks in order to neutralize their impact in terms of carbon emissions.

The patented concept is the subject of a paper published in Frontiers in Energy Research. The industrialization and the commercialization of the new technology are next on the agenda.

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