Cleaner Than Fossil Fuels with More Stamina Than Electric Vehicles

New advancement in automotive technology brings a solid oxide fuel cell-powered system with the e-Bio Fuel-Cell.

The SOFC system. (Image courtesy of Nissan.)

The SOFC system. (Image courtesy of Nissan.)

The world’s first automotive solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC)-powered system is being researched and developed by Nissan Motor Company engineers. The SOFC-powered system uses bioethanol electric power, and thus features an e-Bio Fuel-Cell that contains a SOFC-powered generator.

 How Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Work

A SOFC operates by using the reaction of multiple fuels. Among these are ethanol and natural gas. With oxygen, these fuels produce electricity with high efficiency. The featured e-Bio Fuel-Cell uses bioethanol to generate electricity through the SOFC-powered generator.

Electricity for powering the vehicle is produced through the vehicle’s use of hydrogen from fuel, which is transformed using a reformer and atmospheric oxygen. The resulting electrochemical reaction produces the electricity.

SOFC serves as the e-Bio Fuel-Cell’s power source and provides increased power efficiency, enabling drive ranges comparable to gasoline-powered vehicles. Offering the best of both worlds, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell car also has electric drive features, such as silent drive, linear start-up and rapid acceleration.

A Net-Zero Cycle

A majority of the bioethanol used in the fuel cell is sourced from the Americas and Asia. Thus, the system acts as an environmentally friendly mode of transportation while simultaneously providing economic growth opportunities and support. In a regular fuel cell system, which uses chemicals that react with oxygen, carbon dioxide is usually emitted.

However, by utilizing bioethanol, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell system is a “carbon-neutral cycle,” which results in virtually no increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is a result of the carbon dioxide neutralization during the growing process of the feedstock that is used for the fuel.

Next steps for the e-Bio Fuel-Cell involve user experience, market growth and public as well as business benefit. Compared to the majority of other fuels, ethanol-blended water is easy and safe to handle. An added benefit of this process is that limits on creating new infrastructure will be removed.

Furthermore, the costs of running such vehicles will be very low—similar to modern electric vehicles. With a small refueling time and large power supply, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell will serve as a good match for customer needs.

To learn more about electric vehicles, check out this article on electric vehicle advancements.