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Nissan Announces its First In-House Fuel Cell Stack


Nissan announced that it has designed and developed its first in-house fuel cell stack, as well as a new 700 bar hydrogen storage system.  The automaker had been using  United Technologies stacks in earlier fuel cell prototypes.

The new technologies offer improved acceleration, performance and driving range.

Nissan’s fuel cell stack uses a newly developed thin separator. The separator is the component that separates the hydrogen and oxygen gases supplied to the individual cells and transfers the electricity produced to the next cell.

A fuel cell for a vehicle will likely use several hundred fuel cells connected in a stack in series to obtain the necessary voltage.

The new separator narrows the spacing between adjacent fuel cells (the cell pitch) connected in the stack by 40% compared to the previous stack from UTC used in the X-TRAIL FCV.

Nissan also integrated the plumbing components inside the stack case, and built into the case the peripheral control devices.

As a result, Nissan has increased power while reducing size. The new stack can be reduced in volume to approximately 60% of the previous stack while providing the same level of power.

Improvements to the electrode materials also more than double the service life of the new stack compared with the stack previously used. The new fuel cell stack also has an expanded temperature operating range.

A new 700 bar (10,000 psi) hydrogen storage cylinder increases vehicular hydrogen storage capacity by approximately 30% compared with the previous 350 bar (5,000 psi) cylinder without any change to the cylinder’s external dimensions. The increased storage extends the driving range of a fuel cell vehicle.

The new high-pressure hydrogen storage cylinder is made of an inner aluminum liner and an outer shell of several wound layers of a high-strength, high-elasticity carbon fiber.


Nissan began conducting FCV public-road tests in the US in 2001 and Japan in 2002. Nissan began leasing its X-TRAIL FCV to a limited number of customers, starting with oil refiner Cosmo Oil Co. in March 2004.

The current (2003) model of the X-TRAIL FCV (at right) with the UTC fuel cell stack and 350 bar storage has a top speed of 145 km/h (90 mph) and a range of some 350 km (218 miles).

Nissan will now begin in-vehicle testing of the new fuel cell stack to further improve its overall performance and reliability.


Robert Patterson

This sounds extremely promising and leads me to the question, why isn't this same technology being developed for use in powering, or at least augmenting the power for homes, businesses and cottages etc?
The size restrictions faced in automobiles would be considerably less, allowing for larger and more powerfull cells and with the current stresses on the North American power grid, reducing and removing homes from it would certainly solve a huge problem that faces us.
The decreased need for dependance on expensive infastructure like power lines would also have immense benefits.
Robert Patterson.


Actually, it is, especially in Japan. The government there has established a target of meeting 4.5% of household electricity needs with fuel cells by 2010, so a number of different vendors are at work on systems. For example, Tokyo Gas introduced a new home fuel cell system last December. (Earlier post)

In the US, Honda and Plug Power have a second-generation home hydrogen energy system undergoing tests in New York. (Earlier post) The Honda system also produces compressed hydrogen for use in a vehicle, while the Tokyo Gas system does not. (It’s also quite a bit larger.)

jessica fox

I really do not understand why any one would want to put a hydrogen tank on there car under the drivers side passenger seat.itis not safe and secure it will blow up a city block.i will not buy a car with one of them on it because it is not safe i love life to much to risk it with something like that

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