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Nissan Develops Ethanol-Powered Fuel Cell

Nissan has revealed a new fuel-cell propulsion system which uses an onboard tank of ethanol to produce electricity to power an engine.

Called an e-bio fuel cell, Nissan says that the new car will be able to travel more than 370 miles on a single tank of ethanol. The system uses a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) to generate power from the reaction of multiple fields, in this case including ethanol, oxygen and natural gas.

The e-bio fuel cell uses hydrogen just like the Toyota Mirai, but in Nissanís system, the hydrogen is produced in the car by a reformer.

Besides being totally emissions free, the benefit of using bio-ethanol fuels is that they are already widely available in North America, unlike hydrogen. In fact, some countries like Brazil already widely use ethanol fuel, which means that the infrastructure is already in place.

Other benefits include the system being cheaper than a traditional hydrogen fuel cell, as it doesnít require a carbon fiber fuel tank for pressurized hydrogen or some of the expensive metals involved in a hydrogen system.

Some new distinct electric drive features will be used in these vehicles, including silent drive, linear start-up and brisk acceleration, though Nissan doesnít elaborate on the functions of each.

Nissan wants its e-bio fuel cell system to become mainstream and believes that it can thanks to it being affordable, safer to handle than traditional fuels and easy to refill. Nissan also says that this setup will provide ample power to run a refrigerated delivery truck, and that the ethanol can be up to 55 percent water.

Nissan wants to bring its e-bio fuel cell system to market by 2020.
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