Saturday, February 21, 2009

Nissan's Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Runs on Gasoline and Light Oil, Not Hydrogen

The new doughnut shaped SOFC developed by Nissan for the automobile, will run on hydrocarbons rather than hydrogen. This is an advantage, due to available infrastructure for those fuels. Modifications to allow using variable length alcohols should be relatively easy, if required.
Unlike an SOFC for cogeneration, the new SOFC does not recover waste heat. Still, high-temperature steam generated from the fuel cell is used for reforming.

The SOFC itself has an efficiency of 65 to 70%, and the efficiency as a charger is 50%, including other energy losses. Considering that the efficiency of the EV is 80%, the total efficiency is 40%.

When compared with gasoline vehicles, a 1t EV and 2t EV will have 1.8 and 2.5 times higher fuel economies, respectively, under the JC08 test mode. These are much higher than the fuel economies that can be realized by PEFCs.

Therefore, the SOFC, which has problems starting up, is more suited for commercial vehicles that run for a long time without interruption. _techon
As SOFC's evolve, faster starting times and a wider range of fuels should give this type of power supply much wider use. SOFCs that run on biomass carbon, for example, would allow persons to travel far off the beaten path while still being able to locate fuel fairly easily.

The key to wider acceptance of fuel cell vehicles has always been the ability of the FCs to use available liquid fuels, as well as natural gas and propane / butane. As bio - alcohols and bio - hydrocarbons become more widely available, biofuel powered fuel cells will provide a strong boost to renewable energy's proportion of total energy supply.



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