Fuel Cell/Battery-Powered UAV Takes Flight
- Created on Friday, 21 August 2009
EnergyOr Technologies Inc., of Montreal, Canada, has designed, constructed, and tested an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platform to demonstrate its fuel cell hybrid technology. EnergyOr's system will achieve 8 hours flight endurance in the near future.
In preparation for this endurance flight, EnergyOr performed numerous test flights using its EO-360 UAV powered by a fuel cell/battery hybrid system. The UAV was equipped with payload and avionics. EnergyOr developed and integrated the entire system including UAV airframe, fuel cell stack, controller, hydrogen delivery module, and all other mechanical/electrical subsystems. The advanced propulsion power and energy management strategy included in-flight charging of LiPo batteries.
The hybrid UAV propulsion system takes advantage of fuel cells for their high energy density, and LiPo batteries to provide short bursts of power during take-off, climb, and severe weather. According to EnergyOr, their Fuel Cell Systems have a flight endurance two to three times longer than those powered by the best rechargeable batteries.
"Our flight times are expected to exceed 9 hours in the near future, which will be a revolutionary era for the electrical UAV market," said Michael Bitton, President and CEO or EnergyOr.
Electrical UAVs could be used for military operations, traffic and accident surveillance, inspection of remote power lines, emergency and disaster monitoring, search and rescue, and agricultural spraying.