Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced today 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 utilizing the reaction of multiple fuels, including ethanol and natural gas, with oxygen to produce electricity with high efficiency.
About e-Bio SOFC
The e-Bio Fuel Cell generates electricity through the SOFC (power generator) using bio-ethanol stored in the vehicle. The e-Bio Fuel-Cell utilizes 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 better power efficiency to give the vehicle cruising ranges similar to gasoline-powered cars (more than 600 km). 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 byproducts. Bio-ethanol fuels, including those sourced from sugarcane 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 neutralized from the growing process of sugarcane making up the bio-fuel, allowing it to have a “Carbon-Neutral Cycle,” with nearly no CO2 increase.
The Future of e-Bio SOFC
In the future, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell will become 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 lower—on par with today’s EVs, ultimately benefiting the public as well as businesses, because the e-Bio Fuel-Cell is a better 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.