Nissan develops first SOFC-powered system that runs on bio-ethanol electric power

SOFCNissan Motor Company 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 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 uses 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 600 kilometres). In addition, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell car’s distinct electric-drive features, which include 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 sugarcane and corn, are widely available in countries in North and South America, and Asia. As such, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell, using bio-ethanol will 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 little or no increase in CO2.

The Future of e-Bio Fuel-Cell
In the future, it is anticipated that 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.

Nissan anticipates running costs to be low—on par with today’s EVs, ultimately benefitting the public as well as businesses, since the e-Bio Fuel-Cell requires a short refuelling time and will provide ample power supply that can support a range of services such as refrigerated delivery.

The Quest for a Zero-Emission Society
In pursuit of realizing a zero-emission and zero-fatality society for cars, Nissan continues to promote vehicle intelligence and electrification. The e-Bio Fuel-Cell continues the concept of “Nissan Intelligent Power,” promoting greater efficiency and electrification of cars, together with battery EVs, such as the Nissan LEAF, Nissan e-NV200 and “e-Power,” which is equipped with an engine housing an exclusive large-capacity motor and power generator.