The automotive industry is at a crossroad, with car makers constantly researching alternative fuels and powertrains.
Nissan, one of the pioneers of sustainable, eco-friendly cars, has announced that it’s currently researching and developing a Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC) -powered system that runs on bio-ethanol electric power.
A world first for the automotive industry, the system features an e-Bio Fuel-Cell with an SOFC power generator. The Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell, like its names suggests, is a fuel-cell utilizing the reaction of multiple fuels, including ethanol and natural gas, while oxygen is used to produce electricity.
The e-Bio Fuel-Cell works by generating electricity through the SOFC (power generator) using bio-ethanol stored in the vehicle. Basically, the car uses a generator that turns bio-fuel into hydrogen, which is converted into electricity by a fuel cell to power the vehicle.
Nissan says this allows for a greater power efficiency, offering cruising ranges similar to gasoline-powered cars; or more than 600 km (373 miles), to be precise. In addition, the system features silent drive, linear start-up and brisk acceleration. It will also inhibit the need of actually charging the vehicle via a plug or wall socket, as the electricity will be created by the powertrain.
Bio-ethanol fuels, including those sourced from sugarcane and corn, are widely available in countries in North and South America, and Asia. Moreover, Ethanol-blended water is easier and safer to handle than most other fuels, and this solution will remove limits on creating a totally new infrastructure.
Nissan IDS Concept pictured