What is a Hydrogen Fuel Cell?

A hydrogen fuel cell transfers the chemical energy into electricity which is stored as hydrogen fuel. Hydrogen is not a source of energy by its own. It should be maintained in an appropriate container until it is ready to be used in a fuel cell to generate electricity. When hydrogen is mixed with the oxygen within the fuel cell, and the byproduct water is eliminated, the fuel cell can produce electricity.

Identical to a battery, a fuel cell can be used to power devices that use electricity, such as drones. Hence, there are some major differences between batteries and fuel cells.

HES Energy Systems has revealed the launch of HYCOPTER, an industrial-grade multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle. However, it is developed for large-scale industrial maintenance observation.

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In drone technology, monitoring short flight durations is one of the final frontiers. HES has a high standing reputation for building immensely light and compact fuel cell systems. These systems can be as much as 5 times lighter than lithium batteries. Proceeding with the first world distance record fixed in the US by a NASA-backed team from OSU, HES has been focusing on increasing the levels of energy storage. They have been working from Singapore on several UAV programs and with leading aerospace institutions across the globe. HES has recently achieved an efficiency of more than 700Wh/kg system level specific energy and is working to increase this level even further thanks to a variety of novel technologies.

Uses of Hydrogen fuelled drones

After many years of work, HES has combined the core technologies with a specially adapted multi-rotor invention so that flight timings can extend up to 3.5 hours. Whereas the typical flight time lasts for about 20-30 minutes on lithium batteries.

The new hydrogen multi-rotor system will be able to maintain precision cameras and a few other sensors in the air for much longer. Thus, opening up new commercial uses and minimizing the operational costs for service providers. HYCOPTER was developed in Austin, Texas where a local production base is being planned with.

HYCOPTER includes a new breakthrough 140g pressure regulator capable of minimizing the hydrogen pressure at a range from 350 bar to 0.5 bar. Other system components involve specially invented HES fuel cell stacks capable of producing more than 1W per gram.

HYCOPTER can recharge in a few minutes with the help of bottled industrial-grade hydrogen from the local hydrogen suppliers. Moreover, with additional improvements, the HYCOPTER-type platforms could also permit some product deliveries for longer distances which are possible today. In the future, long-range cargo drones could be established from autonomous hydrogen “droneports”.

Editions of HYCOPTER will move out next in transitional wing VTOL applications, and the same HES core technology is now being the power manned electric aviation. To aid this concept, other aerial mobility platforms are also under discussion with many international aerospace companies. UAV Propulsion Tech is the distributor of HES Energy Systems products in the USA.

Watch a video of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powered Drone: