Zero Emission Vehicle (Z.E.V.) | College of Aeronautics and Engineering | Kent State University

The Zero Emission Vehicle (Z.E.V.) project is led and contributed to by several Research Team Members listed below.

  • Dr. Nader Hedayat, Post-Doctoral Researcher
  • Dr. Dhruba Panthi, Post-Doctoral Researcher
  • Hai Feng, Graduate Student, Applied Engineering
  • Tejas Dudhade, Graduate Student, Applied Engineering
  • Theo Woodson, Graduate Student, Applied Engineering
  • Hemant Naik, Graduate Student, Applied Engineering
  • Sriram Matturi, Graduate Student, Digital Science
  • Chaitran Chakilam, Graduate Student, Applied Engineering
  • Zhaoxuan Wu, Undergraduate Student
  • Xiaoqiu Ji, Undergraduate Student
  • Collin Czehut, Undergraduate Student

The Zero Emission Vehicle, or ZEV, is the first golf cart to be powered by three sources: a fuel cell, a solar panel, and batteries. ZEV’s design includes additional features; we plan on impacting the student body in a loud way- with the help of an audio system that will allow us to stream portable music around campus.

There are 3 power sources in this cart, each with a different source of energy:

  1. Fuel Cell: A fuel cell is a device which converts chemical energy into electrical energy. The fuel cell that will be used to power the cart is a 1 Kilowatt PEM hydrogen fuel cell. Clean water is the only byproduct for a hydrogen-feed fuel cell, and it will not emit any greenhouse gases. This fuel cell can also be operated in an electrolyze mode to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
  2. Solar Power: To extend the time between hydrogen refuelings, a photovoltaic panel will be used to charge the batteries when the cart is resting, or in motion.
  3. Battery: Batteries will be used to store renewable energy generated by the solar panel and fuel cell.

Electrolyzer Mode: When the fuel cell is not being used to generate electricity, it will function as an electrolyzer. This is when the fuel cell operates in reverse. Normally, hydrogen is inserted into the fuel cell, and is then oxidized, creating two things: electricity and water. In electrolyzer mode, electricity derived from the solar panel is used to split water atoms, creating hydrogen. This hydrogen is then stored and used later to power the cart.

Commercial hydrogen is not always produced without carbon dioxide, and therefore has hidden emissions. Note that some commercial hydrogen production processes emit carbon dioxide (CO2) or use electricity produced at CO2-emitting power plants, thus inserting greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. To claim Zero Emission, the hydrogen used in the Z.E.V. must also be produced without the emission of CO2.

photo ZEV Zero Emission Vehicle

ZEV is giving a voice to sustainability, using music, solar panels and fuel cells. By creating something that is tangible through the senses of sight, sound, and touch, sustainability becomes more interactive. Awareness is a key concern in sustainability, and educating the future generation is the best way to achieve sustainability. ZEV is a multifaceted invention, and can be put to many uses. As a university golf cart, it provides quick, reliable transportation for up to six people at a time. ZEV will provide tours for future students, as well as campus VIP and alumni transportation. As a portable music station, it can keep students plugged into the local Kent State Black Squirrel Radio, provide independent music for different crowds, create atmospheres for any occasion, and generate excitement among the student body about sustainability.