Future Technology

e-Bio Fuel-Cell

A fuel cell system that generates electricity from bioethanol to power a vehicle

e-Bio Fuel-Cell is a fuel cell system that uses bioethanol (100% ethanol or an ethanol-blended water) as a fuel source to generate electricity through the Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC). The generated electricity charges the battery which provides power to the vehicle.

Bioethanol is made from resources such as sugar cane and corn. Converting this resource into electrical power emits some CO2. Because the plants that produce these resources absorb CO2 during the growth process, CO2 emitted is offset to achieve a “carbon neutral cycle" that produces zero net CO2 emissions.

In countries where bioethanol is widely used (such as Brazil and Thailand), there is great potential for e-Bio Fuel-Cells within existing infrastructures with few restrictions.

By offering systems that produce electrical power from a variety of fuels to match unique country infrastructures, we can reach a greater numbers of customers. Thus, customers can experience driving pleasure such as start-off linear acceleration and the quiet cabin characteristics of an electric vehicle.


System operation

A reformer produces hydrogen from bioethanol, and a SOFC stack generates electricity from a reaction between the hydrogen and oxygen (air) in the stack. The generated electricity is stored in the on-board battery which supplies electricity to an electric motor to drive the vehicle.
The heat that is generated during power generation is reused in the generation of hydrogen.

A SOFC features high power generation efficiency and can achieve about the same cruising distances as conventional gasoline engine vehicles.


System mechanism

Because a SOFC generates electricity from the movement of oxygen ions inside an electrolyte, it is possible to generate electricity from any fuel that reacts with oxygen, and can also generate electricity from low-purity hydrogen. Further, this technology makes it possible to design compact on-board SOFC systems.
Along with ethanol, a wide range of other fuels, such as natural gas, can be a fuel source.
SOFC systems operate at high temperatures, thus making rare metals or other highly active catalysts unnecessary.