edatoakrun
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Nissan to develop vehicle using ethanol-based Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell technology by 2020

Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:46 am

Avoiding the insurmountable (?) obstacle of developing hydrogen infrastructure by using alternate fuels has been proposed by many Fuel Cell advocates, but Nissan may be the first vehicle manufacturer to offer a practical alternative.

IMO, Nissan would be wise to utilize this technology primarily as a range extender for its BEVx vehicles of all sizes.

Electricity from the grid off-peak will always be much cheaper (and in terms of total environmental impact, usually "cleaner") that ethanol or any other hydrocarbon fuel.

Nissan to develop ethanol-based fuel cell technology by 2020

...Nissan said its technology would be ready for use in vehicles in 2020, adding it could be used to extend the range of larger, electric vehicles such as delivery vans.

It would target a cruising range of around 800 kilometers per fuelling, more than the range for gasoline-powered vehicles of just over 600 kilometers.

The automaker said running costs for the FCVs would be roughly similar to those of electric vehicles, while declining to give details on vehicle pricing...

Unlike its rivals' offerings, Nissan's technology does not require hydrogen to be stored in vehicles, reducing the need for expensive bulky hydrogen tanks, and would not require fuelling stations, which have been slow to spread globally...

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos ... SKCN0Z01BG

From the press release, below:

Jun. 14, 2016

Nissan announces development of the world’s first SOFC-powered vehicle system that runs on bio-ethanol electric power



YOKOHAMA, Japan – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced today that it is currently researching and developing a Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered system that runs on bio-ethanol electric power. The new system –­ a world first for automotive use – features an e-Bio Fuel-Cell with an SOFC power generator. SOFC is a fuel cell utilizing the reaction of multiple fuels, including ethanol and natural gas, with oxygen to produce electricity with high efficiency.

About e-Bio Fuel-Cell
The e-Bio Fuel Cell generates electricity through the SOFC (power generator) using bio-ethanol stored in the vehicle. The e-Bio Fuel-Cell uses hydrogen transformed from fuel via a reformer and atmospheric oxygen, with the subsequent electrochemical reaction producing electricity to power the vehicle.

Unlike conventional systems, e-Bio Fuel-Cell features SOFC as its power source, affording greater power efficiency to give the vehicle cruising ranges similar to gasoline-powered cars (more than 600km). In addition, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell car's distinct electric-drive features — including silent drive, linear start-up and brisk acceleration — allow users to enjoy the joys and comfort of a pure electric vehicle (EV).

Fuel-cell systems use chemicals that react with oxygen, generating power without release of harmful byproducts. Bio-ethanol fuels, including those sourced from sugarcane and corn, are widely available in countries in North and South America, and Asia. The e-Bio Fuel-Cell, using bio-ethanol, can offer eco-friendly transportation and create opportunities in regional energy production, while supporting existing infrastructure.

When power is generated in a fuel-cell system, CO2 is usually emitted. With the bio-ethanol system, CO2 emissions are neutralized from the growing process of sugarcane making up the bio-fuel, allowing it to have a "Carbon-Neutral Cycle," with nearly no CO2 increase whatsoever...

The e-Bio Fuel-Cell will realize the concept of "Nissan Intelligent Power," promoting greater efficiency and electrification of cars and the joys of driving, alongside battery EVs, such as the Nissan LEAF, Nissan e-NV200 and "e-Power," which is equipped with an engine housing an exclusive large-capacity motor and power generator...

http://nissannews.com/en-US/nissan/usa/ ... tric-power
Last edited by edatoakrun on Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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edatoakrun
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Re: Nissan to develop ethanol-based fuel cell technology by 2020

Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:03 pm

GCC reports on the obstacles to SOFCs which Nissan claims to have overcome, and advantages over the present HFC vehicles:

Nissan developing electric vehicles powered by ethanol-fueled solid oxide fuel cells; commercialization in 2020

...Because of their fuel-flexibility (i.e., no need for a dedicated hydrogen production and refueling infrastructure), solid oxide fuel cells have been of interest for transportation applications—especially as APUs or in lower power situations, for years...

SOFC systems pose a number of challenges, especially for automotive, however. Because they run at higher temperatures than the PEM fuel cells typically currently used in automotive applications, there is a need for high performance, low cost insulation; robust balance-of-plant components; and fast startup and thermal cycling....

The solid oxide fuel then generates electricity via the reaction of hydrogen with oxygen from the air. Oxygen ions move through the fuel cell’s electrolyte, generating power. A benefit of the high operating temperature is that a highly active catalyst is not necessary; no rare metals are needed...

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2016/06 ... issan.html

A prototype "you can drive" is reported to be only a few months off:


Kampai: Nissan's Alcohol-Powered System Answers The Big Fuel Cell Question


Nissan today showed off a fuel cell system that could overcome the main drawback of current hydrogen fuel cell systems: how to get the hydrogen to the car. Nissan’s system uses readily available ethanol alcohol. An on-board “reformer” converts the ethanol to hydrogen. In the fuel cell stack, the hydrogen is converted to electric power.

“In August, we will have a prototype you can drive,” Nissan EVP Hideyuki Sakamoto promised the reporters at Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama. The first commercial cars powered by the system are expected around 2020...

The system reuses the heat generated in the hydrogen stack to power the reformer, which the company expects to give the new system a thermal efficiency rating of up to 60%...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/bertelschmi ... 6e09804a44
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Re: Nissan to develop vehicle using ethanol-based Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell technology by 2020

Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:00 pm

I'm surprised nobody thought this was significant.

One serious drawback, of course, is that the exhaust is H2O and.... drum roll.... CO2.

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Re: Nissan to develop vehicle using ethanol-based Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell technology by 2020

Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:22 am

TonyWilliams wrote:I'm surprised nobody thought this was significant...

I'm sure those EV manufacture's who have invested heavily in HFCVs, like Toyota, or humongous-battery-pack BEVs like Tesla, think this story is very significant, and are hoping Nissan will not be able to follow-up on its claims.

Because if Nissan can, it will probably destroy those companies' business plans...

For anyone who did not follow the links I posted above, I want to emphasize that it seems very likely to me that Nissan will have a significant battery pack in all its EVs, including those equipped with SOFCs, so you will be able to charge the pack from (and soon I hope, also discharge to) the grid.

The big question is, will the first SOFC car's FC be sized as a range extender, designed to charge as you drive, which might be as small as five to ten kW, will it be sized for a PHEV like the Volt, using a FC with ~ten times that output, allowing ~normal driving after battery depletion, or will the kW output be somewhere in between, like a BMW i-3rex?
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Re: Nissan to develop vehicle using ethanol-based Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell technology by 2020

Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:52 am

TonyWilliams wrote:I'm surprised nobody thought this was significant.
It is an interesting approach. Here are some potential benefits:

- No high-pressure gaseous fuel tank. Instead, it takes a room-temperature, well-understood liquid, so it should be significantly safer.
- Inexpensive fuel.
- No precious metals in the fuel cell.

For reference, here is the image from the Forbes article:

Image

Here are some concerns:

- No details are given for the Nissan ethanol reformer. I've seen a real-life reformer for converting natural gas (methane) into H2 and it was huge and complicated. The manufacturer was never able to reduce the size and cost sufficiently to meet the market demands. It will be interesting to see what Nissan has here.
- Where to get the ethanol? Corn is not a great source since the EROEI is around unity. That means valuable farmland is consumed while additional fuel is not produced. If the efficiency of this system is really 60% (average) then that will help some, but not a lot. OTOH, ethanol can apparently be made from sugarcane with an EROEI of about 8, so this might be a good fit for countries which can grow sugarcane.
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Re: Nissan to develop vehicle using ethanol-based Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell technology by 2020

Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:54 am

Great, so instead of powering cars with petroleum we'll use it to grow corn for ethanol and deplete our topsoil in the process.
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

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Re: Nissan to develop vehicle using ethanol-based Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell technology by 2020

Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:11 am

Nubo wrote:Great, so instead of powering cars with petroleum we'll use it to grow corn for ethanol and deplete our topsoil in the process.

We already are burning a huge quantity of ethanol, blended with gasoline, in our ICEVs.

I expect we could get two to three times the miles per gallon of ethanol with a SOFC (which are theoretically even more efficient than HFCs) as we currently get by burning the same ethanol (mixed with gasoline) in ICEVs.

So if the SOFCV's battery packs are correctly sized and are charged from the grid, and use ethanol primarily for occasional fast-refueling on longer trips, it could be possible to drive ~the same miles we now do in ICEVs, eliminating gasoline from the equation, while using ~the same amount of ethanol we now burn so inefficiently in ICEVs.

Nissan mentions the SOFCs can run on many other hydrocarbon fuels, but ethanol is likely the best option, given the existing infrastructure and inherent relative safety of the fuel.

The biggest problem with a vehicular pure ethanol or ethanol/water blend infrastructure, will probably be with people diverting the fuel to other purposes...
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Re: Nissan to develop vehicle using ethanol-based Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell technology by 2020

Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:53 am

edatoakrun wrote:So if the SOFCV's battery packs are correctly sized and are charged from the grid, and use ethanol primarily for occasional fast-refueling on longer trips, it could be possible to drive ~the same miles we now do in ICEVs, eliminating gasoline from the equation, while using ~the same amount of ethanol we now burn so inefficiently in ICEVs.
Agreed this is an attractive approach. It allows for a very smooth transition without the massive infrastructure expenditure required to deploy H2 FCVs. (I will repeat that Hyundai's, Toyota's and Honda's failure to build pluggable hybrids belies their real motivation for building these vehicles: to collect CARB credits.)

I find it nteresting that you only need 100 Proof alcohol to run these vehicles instead of 200 Proof. That should make distillation significantly cheaper. I do wonder how difficult it will be to sufficiently eliminate impurities from the alcohol to prevent poisoning the reformer and the fuel cell.
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Re: Nissan to develop vehicle using ethanol-based Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell technology by 2020

Tue Jun 21, 2016 2:43 am

edatoakrun wrote:
Nubo wrote:Great, so instead of powering cars with petroleum we'll use it to grow corn for ethanol and deplete our topsoil in the process.

We already are burning a huge quantity of ethanol, blended with gasoline, in our ICEVs.

I expect we could get two to three times the miles per gallon of ethanol with a SOFC (which are theoretically even more efficient than HFCs) as we currently get by burning the same ethanol (mixed with gasoline) in ICEVs.

So if the SOFCV's battery packs are correctly sized and are charged from the grid, and use ethanol primarily for occasional fast-refueling on longer trips, it could be possible to drive ~the same miles we now do in ICEVs, eliminating gasoline from the equation, while using ~the same amount of ethanol we now burn so inefficiently in ICEVs.

Nissan mentions the SOFCs can run on many other hydrocarbon fuels, but ethanol is likely the best option, given the existing infrastructure and inherent relative safety of the fuel.

The biggest problem with a vehicular pure ethanol or ethanol/water blend infrastructure, will probably be with people diverting the fuel to other purposes...


"It's good for 2 things. Degreasing engines, and killing brain cells." - Cipher, "The Matrix"

Heh. But good point about the relative efficiencies. Could change the petroleum ROE. Right now it can take more petroleum energy to make ethanol than the ethanol delivers.
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

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Re: Nissan to develop vehicle using ethanol-based Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell technology by 2020

Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:51 am

Driving prototype on display.

Notice the 24 kWh battery pack.

If I had this drivetrain in my LEAF (and E100 available at gas stations) I would have up to ~400 mile range between fuel stops, and drive all year on ~2,000 kWh, and a few dozen gallons of ethanol.

Far superior alternative to Bolt or Tesla 3 of having to cram an overpriced, overweight, and oversized pack in your BEV, if (like most drivers) you only need range > 100 miles occasionally.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF-eE8pRzMw
Aug 4, 2016
Nissan unveils world's first Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell vehicle



YOKOHAMA, Japan – In Brazil today, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. today revealed the world's first Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered prototype vehicle that runs on bio-ethanol electric power.

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.”

The fuel cell prototype forms part of Nissan’s ongoing commitment to the development of zero-emission vehicles. Nissan already sells the world’s highest-volume zero-emission car, the LEAF, and is pioneering Intelligent Mobility systems that will be deployed in a range of vehicles over coming years.

In this latest zero-emission development, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell prototype vehicle runs on 100-percent ethanol to charge a 24kWh battery that enables a cruising range of more than 600km. Nissan will conduct 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 it runs on 100-percent ethanol or ethanol-blended water. 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 gasoline-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.
In pursuit of realizing a zero-emission and zero-fatality society for cars, Nissan continues to promote vehicle intelligence and electrification. Nissan's brand promise of "Innovation That Excites" is delivered with "Nissan Intelligent Mobility," which focuses on how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society through a more enjoyable driving experience.

The e-Bio Fuel-Cell will realize the concept of "Nissan Intelligent Power," promoting greater efficiency and electrification of cars and the joys of driving alongside battery EVs, such as the Nissan LEAF, Nissan e-NV200, and e-Power, which is equipped with an engine housing an exclusive large-capacity motor and power generator.

Nissan will continue to provide value to its customers by incorporating systems that enable the extraction of electric power from various fuels, while addressing the infrastructure issues tied to energy supply in every region of the world.

Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell vehicle Specifications
•Base Vehicle: e-NV200
•Battery Capacity: 24kWh
•Energy Source: Electricity, Ethanol
•Tank Capacity: 30L
•SOFC Output: 5kW
•Driving Range: 600km-plus

*Due to being a prototype vehicle, specifications are subject to change.

http://nissannews.com/en-US/nissan/usa/ ... ll-vehicle
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