WITH the Rio Olympics firmly in the spotlight for all the good reasons – plus its other detractions such as severe air and water pollution for the negative ones – Nissan has decided to unveil its own gold medal winner in the make it greener race: the world’s first Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered prototype vehicle in Brazil. The vehicle runs on bio-ethanol electric power.
Ethanol-blended water is easier and safer to handle than most other fuels. Without the need to create new infrastructure, it has great potential to drive market growth
The breakthrough model, an all-new light–commercial vehicle, can rely on multiple fuels, including ethanol and natural gas, to produce high-efficiency electricity as a power source.
Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said:
“The e-Bio Fuel-Cell offers eco-friendly transportation and creates opportunities for regional energy production…all the while supporting the existing infrastructure. In the future, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell will become even more user-friendly. Ethanol-blended water is easier and safer to handle than most other fuels. Without the need to create new infrastructure, it has great potential to drive market growth.”
Nissan says that the fuel cell prototype forms part of its ongoing commitment to the development of zero-emission vehicles. Nissan already sells the world’s highest-volume zero-emission car, the LEAF.
In this latest zero-emission development, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell prototype vehicle runs on 100-percent ethanol to charge a 24kWh battery which enables a cruising range of more than 600km (373 miles).
Nissan plans further field tests on public roads in Brazil using the prototype.
Research and development of the e-Bio Fuel-Cell was announced by Nissan in June in Yokohama. The powertrain is clean, highly-efficient, easy to supply, and runs on 100-percent ethanol or ethanol-blended water, says Nissan. Its carbon-neutral emissions are as clean as the atmosphere, which will be the part of natural carbon cycle. Also, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell offers the brisk acceleration and silent driving of an EV, along with its low-running costs, while boasting the driving range of a petrol-engine vehicle.
Bio-ethanol fuels are mainly sourced from sugarcane and corn. These fuels are widely available in countries in North and South America, which feature widely-established infrastructure. Due to the easy availability of ethanol and low combustibility of ethanol-blended water, the system is not heavily dependent or restricted by the existing charging infrastructure, making it easy to introduce to the market. In the future, people may only need to stop by small retail stores to buy fuel off the shelf.
Nissan e-NV200 e-Bio Fuel-Cell specification
- Battery 24kWh
- Energy source electricity, ethanol
- Tank capacity 30l
- SOFC output 5kW
- Driving range 600km+ (373 miles)