Abstract: This white paper proposes research on the design and evaluation of an integrated system assembled to the vehicle with no energy penalty where a sequence of processes, cooling, heating, mass transfer, and compression, will take place while driving. The increasing demand for fresh produce has led to an expansion of the US urban agriculture industry (greenhouses) which uses carbon dioxide (CO2) enrichment from burning fossil fuels to increase plant productivity and to shorten the plant growth time. The demand for CO2 and water in greenhouses is massive (2.81 kg CO2eq/kg produce, 22 L water/kg produce), and alternate CO2 and water delivery sources are essential to make post-harvest food processing technologies such as dense-phase CO2 pasteurization of beverages more sustainable. Internal combustion engines (ICE) have an average efficiency of about 30%, with 30% of the thermal energy wasted in the exhaust gases. A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of CO2 and 21,000 l of water per year into the environment. Although multiple carbon capture technologies exist, the size of these plants is large, their unit operations are fixed, and the use of novel materials is limited. In this white paper, we propose to retrofit the wasted energy in a car’s exhaust to capture, concentrate, store, and deliver liquid CO2 and water for agricultural and food systems. Preliminary thermodynamic and exergy analysis indicates that this is feasible. Specially designed heat and mass transfer units with novel materials and 3D printing technology could be easily deployed and used while driving to mitigate the global warming problem while addressing the needs of agricultural systems.
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