Nissan e-Bio fuel cell tech shown in world first NV200 prototype

Nissan has developed a Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell system running on bio-ethanol which it's shown in an NV200

Nissan has revealed what it calls the world’s first Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered vehicle. It’s a prototype version of the brand’s NV200 van that can be powered by bio-ethanol fuel - rather than hydrogen which is usually associated with fuel-cell vehicles.

The van, which has been revealed in Brazil, can be powered by several types of propellant including ethanol, ethanol-blended water and natural gas, with both being converted to electric power using the fuel cell.

This is done by mixing hydrogen created using the fuel with chemicals that react with it to create electricity in the fuel cell stack. The system charges up a 24kWh battery, but the capacity to hold fuel on board gives the van a 373-mile range. That’s significantly more than the 106-mile range in the fully-electric e-NV200 van.

Nissan says it offers the same instant torque and silent operation of a full-EV model, too, but with the range of a conventionally-powered vehicle.Bio-ethanol fuel is sustainable too, being made from sugar and corn crops, and is already available especially in North and South America. This means it’s free from the infrastructure restrictions of both electric and hydrogen cars.

Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “The e-Bio Fuel-Cell offers eco-friendly transportation and creates opportunities for regional energy production… 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.”

Find out more about fuel cell technology with our quick guide...

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