Volvo Developing Fuel Cell Reformer, Range Extender for EVs

C30 DRIVe Racing concept
In brief: Volvo and Swedish Energy Agency are working on development of a fuel cell system as a range extender for an electric car, but using gasoline rather than hydrogen.

Vehicle in the news

Make/Model: C30 DRIVe FCEV Manufacturer: Volvo

The word

C30 DRIVe Race concept

The current platform of the C30 DRIVe electric concept will be used to test the new system sometime in 2012. The technology for the reformer comes from PowerCell Sweden and the concept comes from research support through the Swedish Energy Agency.

The reformer converts standard gasoline (petrol) into electricity in a fuel cell. So rather than using hydrogen as their fuel for the cell, they are using gasoline, which is much more readily available.

The first phase of the study will consider the fuel cell range extender using the PowerCell Power Pac. The Power Pac converts liquid fuels (gasoline in this case) into a hydrogen reformate which is then put through a fuel cell stack, producing electricity and water.

The system is clean, producing no carbon, nitrogen, or sulphur oxide emissions or particulates. Emissions of CO2 are also near-zero compared to conventional gasoline engines.

Volvo was attracted to the flexibility of the system, which can be adapted to many types of fuel including biologically-derived fuels (biofuels). C30 DRIVe

And so ...

Two test cars based on the C30 DRIVe electrics will be used and will be on the roads sometime in 2012.

Photo credits: Volvo

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