Danish engineers develop next generation of methanol fuel cell vehicles

Danish methanol fuel cell manufacturer SerEnergy has launched a commercial reformed methanol fuel cell vehicle with a driving range of up to 800km on a tank of methanol.

The engineers and mechanics at SerEnergy’s mobility development centre, located in Aalborg, Denmark, have developed a reformed methanol fuel cell (RMFC) vehicle based on the Nissan e-NV200 electric car platform, a car that is being sold in large numbers worldwide.

The car is equipped with an urban range extender which enables up to 800km before the car needs refuelling, and is therefore ideal for an urban driving pattern covering many kilometres, such as taxies, delivery van and other commercial vehicles.

It has been three years since SerEnergy started the development of a fuel cell solution for the mobility segment, with a first-generation RMFC-vehicle based on a Fiat 500 platform. Now, more than a year’s development work has resulted in the launch of the second-generation RMFC-system with great potential on a broad variety of applications such as commercial vehicles and buses.

“This is an important step for us in realising our vision – to wipe the Internal Combustion Engine from the face of the earth. The market is searching for green alternatives to fossil fuels, so we see great potential in this type of vehicle both nationally and internationally and we are thrilled to see the first cars on the road,” said Mads Friis Jensen, chief commercial officer at SerEnergy.

Low-carbon economy

According to the company, its innovation is environmentally friendly and comes with “an exhaust that is as clean as the air surrounding us”.

As participants in a methanol infrastructure project, SerEnergy has taken part in the development of a filling station for methanol with a refuelling process that is not much different than what we know from traditional fuelling with petrol or diesel.

A perfect hybrid

The vehicles are developed as a hybrid which combines a reformed methanol fuel cell system with a battery pack. The combination of batteries and methanol is an ideal combination where methanol fuels the vehicle on the range and batteries kicks in during start-up and acceleration peaks.

When the two technologies are supplementing each other, both technologies can perform as they do best thereby reducing the size of the battery pack and the capacity of the fuel cell significantly, resulting in a vehicle that is both cost and energy efficient.

Hitting the road

The first commercial cars are going to be part of the German “green fuel” project where innogy, one of the leading energy companies in Europe, is demonstrating the entire value chain of methanol as an alternative liquid fuel over traditional fossil fuels. The RMFC-system has been undergoing thorough testing and has been tested on the roads for more than a year with great results.


This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Biofuels International. 

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