Nissan Motor Co. has announced that it is developing a fuel-cell that will power vehicles using electricity generated from bio-ethanol.
Hideyuki Sakamoto, executive vice president in charge of development indicated that Nissan plans to incorporate the powertrain in fleet vehicles by 2020. Dubbed the e-bio fuel cell, cars equipped with the technology will provide drivers with a range of over 373 miles.
Nissan’s fuel cell solution uses liquid fuel stored in a conventional tank that generates hydrogen through a reformer component. The hydrogen in turn is fed into a fuel stack where a solid-oxide fuel-cell system is used to generate power.
Nissan maintains that generating hydrogen within the vehicle results in a cheaper, safer and more user-friendly solution compared to traditional fuel cell systems.
The e-bio fuel cells use bio-ethanol produced from renewable crops and refueling can be undertaken from an existing infrastructure.
Nissan also notes that ethanol is not as combustible as pressurized hydrogen, can be stored in standard fuel tanks and does not require the use of precious metals as catalysts.