Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. says it is currently researching and developing a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC)-powered vehicle system that runs on bio-ethanol electric power.
According to Nissan, the new system features an e-bio fuel cell with an SOFC power generator, which utilizes the reaction of multiple fuels, including ethanol and natural gas, with oxygen to produce electricity with high efficiency.
The company explains that unlike conventional systems, the e-bio fuel cell utilizes SOFC as its power source, giving the vehicle cruising ranges similar to gasoline-powered vehicles (more than 600 kilometers). In addition, this technology has electric-drive features, including silent drive, linear start-up and brisk acceleration.
Nissan claims that running costs will be on par with today’s electric vehicles and will offer customers the benefits of short refueling time and ample power supply that can support a range of services, such as refrigerated delivery.
The automaker says it was encouraged to embrace bio-ethanol fuels, including those sourced from sugarcane and corn, considering that they’re widely available in many countries in Asia and the Americas and that due to the growing process of sugarcane making up the bio-fuel, it has a carbon-neutral cycle, with nearly no CO2 increase whatsoever.