Home Technology Is SOFC the Future Of Automobile Companies?

Is SOFC the Future Of Automobile Companies?


While hybrid cars used the combination of fossil fuels with electricity, they have only managed to produce a small increase in fuel-efficiency. All-electric vehicles are gaining more in popularity, but they too have a very limited range – as compared to gas engines – meaning they aren’t as efficient as one could expect (Only Tesla Motors has been successful in introducing an all-electric vehicle, the model S). Natural gas has been providing heat in homes for decades, but due to concerns over the pressurization, its use has been limited in cars. You can find a wide range of automotive weatherstrips vehicle accessories at Fairchild.


The Future Of Automobile Companies?

This leaves only Fuel Cells as perhaps the best source for producing practical energy for vehicles. They have the capability of delivering the fuel-efficiency of gas-powered engines, but prove to be a rather cleaner and greener alternative. This is where Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC) makes its entrance into the future of automobile manufacturing. Typically, SOFCs have the ability of producing electricity directly from the oxidization of the fuel source. The electrochemical conversion utilized in these cells creates a highly efficient method for powering further cars.

Best part of all: SOFCs prove to be quite stable, have a relatively low cost, and are known to release fewer emissions into air. Like most fuel cell technologies, SOFCs also prove to be efficient, modular, and scalable. Since they are not heat engines and directly convert fuel into electricity, SOFCs are not subject to Carnot Cycle limitations. They also prove to be incredibly beneficial for the public, as they have shown great potential in minimizing harmful emissions like oxides of nitrogen (NO) when compared to earlier combustion-based electric power engines.

The development of SOFCs can be dated back to the 20th century. However, the program did not get enough exposure until last decade – when government incentives were used for helping promote research into Solid Oxide and its use in automobiles. Today, although SOFCs are still in experimental stages, it has progressed significantly over the past couple of years. The recent hikes in gas and oil prices have also helped considerably in expanding interest for the developing of fuel cell technologies and their role as a replacement to gas-powered engines.

The major problem, however, with SOFCs is that they need to be operating at high temperatures (around 800 Celsius degrees) in order to produce electrical currents. This results in longer start up time for fuel cell operating engine, until various chemical and mechanical issues are fleshed out completely. Research into improving SOFCs is being conducted by several electric companies around the world with the main effort of reducing temperature needed to produce electrical currents. So far, however, Nissan Motors has gotten a jumpstart with Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technology.

The renowned Japanese Multinational Automobile manufacturer recently announced the development of the world’s first SOFC powered vehicle system. Named as “e-Bio Fuel-Cell” and running on bio-ethanol electric power, Nissan’s latest SOFC technology utilizes hydrogen transformed from fuel via atmospheric oxygen and reformer to produce electricity in order to power the vehicle. The technology will make its way into the markets around 2020 with aims to be more user-friendly, safer, and cheaper as compared to existing rival systems.

This article is a courtesy of a Minnesota based used car dealership listing: Minneapolis Cars For Sale.

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