Friday, July 1, 2016

Nissan develops range extender on ethanol and natural gas

Nissan is developing a new drive train consisting of an electric vehicle equipped with a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) range extender. Nissan aims to bring the technology to market in fleets by 2020. The test runs on bio-ethanol but other fuels such as natural gas can also be used. The fuel is reformed on-board to create hydrogen which is then used in a solid oxide fuel cell.

SO fuel cells more affordable than PEM fuel cells currently used in hydrogen vehicles as they don't require platinum catalysts. Bio-ethanol and natural gas/biogas are also cheaper than hydrogen and require much lower infra structure investments.

The downside of SO fuel cells are the high operating temperature which leads to higher start-up times. Also the reformer has long response times, which limits the use of SO fuel cells in vehicles to range extenders and APUs.

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