Is Hydrogen The Answer To Drone Flight Longevity ?
” A few months ago we published an article about the current limitations on time-in-the-air (TITA) for electric UAV’s. In that piece, we focused on three alternatives to extend the amount of time that electric drones can remain in the air performing their mission. Tethered devices, solar power and in-the-field rapid battery replacements are the three viable options that operators have today.
Today, restrictions imposed on small commercially available drones of flying times of 25 minutes or less (depending on number of rotors and/or load) are being challenged by a number of manufacturers both here in the USA, Europe and China using fuel cells.All three solutions presented considerable extensions to TITA, but have limitations associated with replacing conventional and commonly used technology with new, and in some cases, cumbersome alternatives. Now though, the energy industry seems to be getting warmer (no pun intended) to the idea of Fuel Cell Power Systems (FCPS) and the many advantages that this technology, first proposed in 1838 by William Grove, bring to the table.”
” For the purpose of this article we focused on two innovators in the field of fuel cells: Protonex, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ballard Power Systems (BLDP) that is based in Massachusetts, and MMC, headquartered in the province of Shenzhen, PR China. Both of these private companies are making significant inroads in the development and commercialization of FCPS for regular use in UAVs with missions which require longer time in the air.”