Nissan announces solid oxide fuel cell vehicle research

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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 claimed 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.

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 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 startup and brisk acceleration—allow users to enjoy the joys and comfort of a pure electric vehicle (EV).

Bio-ethanol fuels, including those sourced from sugarcane and corn, are widely available in countries in North and South America and Asia. Nissan states that 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 whatsoever.

June 16, 2016

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Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine of the Year Awards.

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