August 20, 2017

Nissan announces fuel cell technology using bio-ethanol

Boifuel cell

From Yokohama, Japan, Nissan has announced that it is currently researching and developing a solid oxide fuel-cell (SOFC)-powered system that runs on bio-ethanol electric power. The new system – a world first for automotive use – features an e-bio fuel-cell with an SOFC power generator. SOFC is a fuel cell utilising the reaction of multiple fuels, including ethanol and natural gas, with oxygen to produce electricity with high efficiency.

About e-bio fuel-cell

The e-bio fuel cell generates electricity through the SOFC (power generator) using bio-ethanol stored in the vehicle. The e-bio fuel-cell utilises hydrogen transformed from fuel via a reformer and atmospheric oxygen, with the subsequent electrochemical reaction producing electricity to power the vehicle. Unlike conventional systems, e-bio fuel-cell features SOFC as its power source, affording greater power efficiency to give the vehicle cruising ranges similar to gasoline-powered cars (more than 600km). In addition, the e-bio fuel-cell car’s distinct electric-drive features – including silent drive, linear start-up and brisk acceleration – allow users to enjoy the joys and comfort of a pure electric vehicle (EV). Fuel-cell systems use chemicals that react with oxygen, generating power without release of harmful by products. Bio-ethanol fuels, including those sourced from sugar cane and corn, are widely available in countries in North and South America, and Asia. The e-bio fuel-cell, using bio-ethanol, can offer eco-friendly transportation and create opportunities in regional energy production, while supporting existing infrastructure. When power is generated in a fuel-cell system, CO2 is usually emitted. With the bio-ethanol system, CO2 emissions are neutralised from the growing process of sugar cane making up the bio-fuel, allowing it to have a ‘carbon-neutral cycle’, with nearly no CO2 increase whatsoever.

The future of e-bio fuel-cell

In the future, the e-bio fuel-cell will become even more user-friendly. Ethanol-blended water is easier and safer to handle than most other fuels. As this will remove limits on creating a totally new infrastructure, it has great potential for market growth. Running costs will be remarkably low – on par with today’s EVs, ultimately benefitting the public as well as businesses, because the e-bio fuel-cell is an ideal fit for wider customer needs because of the short refueling time and ample power supply that can support a range of services such as refrigerated delivery.

Information credits: AFP

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