Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a strategy to capture, store and eventually recycle carbon from vehicles that run on fossil fuels such as petrol or diesel. Their concept car uses ordinary liquid fuel but the carbon contained in the fuel is trapped in the vehicle for later processing. It can then be sent back to a processing plant where it could be transformed into new fuel.

The set-up requires an onboard fuel processor designed to separate hydrogen in the fuel from the carbon. The pure hydrogen is then used to power the vehicle, while the carbon is stored onboard in a liquid form until it's disposed at a refueling station. Initial tests have proven that the system can work reliably but the concept is still in a very early stage.

Now that researchers have come up with a device to produce hydrogen and, at the same time, capture carbon emissions, the greatest remaining challenge will be to develop and market the technology. Unfortunately, most carmakers are investigating ways of reducing the amount of emissions their cars produce but if this new technology gains some ground we could eventually see a future with a sustainable transportation system with no carbon emissions at all.