Nissan has developed a new kind of-fuel-cell drivetrain for cars that taps an onboard tank of ethanol instead of pressurized hydrogen, delivering a cheaper, safer ride that it says is more user friendly. Dubbed an e-bio fuel cell, the new technology aims to combat a common hurdle to deploying traditional hydrogen fuel cell vehicles: the lack of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure, reports industry watchdog Automotive News. Nissan’s system uses bio-ethanol, derived from renewable crops like corn and sugarcane, the refueling infrastructure for which largely exists. Nissan aims to bring the technology to market in fleet vehicles by around 2020. Not requiring a hydrogen infrastructure ‘is the biggest advantage, along with better safety,’ said executive vice-president Hideyuki Sakamoto.

Nissan_e-bio_fuel_cellNissan’s concept creates electricity out of biofuel rather than directly out of hydrogen, which capitalizes on more readily available fuel. (PHOTO: BMW)

Ethanol fuel cells clear infrastructure hurdle: