Children of the Corn: Nissan Develops World's First Ethanol Automotive Fuel Cell

Order Reprints

Right now, if you want a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle and you don't live in a certain slice of California, you're basically boned. Hydrogen has nowhere near the supporting infrastructure that gas or even electricity have, and it's going to take a while for that to happen -- fuel cell cars aren't cheap, and neither is creating storage tanks for highly flammable gases. Nissan thinks it has a way around that problem.

Fuel-cell vehicles take a fuel (in most cases, compressed hydrogen gas) and convert it to electricity, which powers the car. Nissan's first-of-its-kind fuel cell replaces that hydrogen gas with ethanol. A reformer pulls hydrogen from the ethanol and combines it with atmospheric oxygen (aka outside air) to create electricity.

The system, which is given the clunky name of e-Bio Fuel Cell, hopes to provide gas-like range to fuel cell vehicles. There's also the added benefit of being carbon neutral, as the carbon dioxide emitted by a bioethanol-powered fuel cell vehicle is offset by the carbon dioxide required of the sugarcane grown to create the ethanol (though of course it still needs natural resources like land and water).

The company believes costs will stay low because the ethanol can be blended with water, and the storage efforts required for ethanol are markedly lower than what's required to contain pressurized hydrogen gas. Nissan hopes to roll this technology out in fleet vehicles around 2020, according to Automotive News.

This article originally appeared on CNET

Related Articles

These are the Crazy Futuristic Cars of Roborace, the World's First Driverless Racing Series

Old World Industries Acquires the Automotive Division of EiKO Global, LLC

Ground Breaking Deal in Oil and Fuel Sector for Gulf and the World's Number One Football Brand

You must login or register in order to post a comment.