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Wingcopter Embarks on Hydrogen Powered Partnership

Faster Turnaround, Longer Legs on the Table with ZAL Partnership

Wingcopter has embarked on a partnership with the Hamburg-based ZAL Center of Applied Aeronautical Research GmbH to provide hydrogen power to their electric UAVs.

The German manufacturers currently plan to include a hydrogen-based propulsion system to the Wingcopter 198, allowing the aircraft to extend its range and refueling capacity while remaining fully emission-free. The addition of hydrogen propulsion should, if successful, provide the same performance of the current Wingcopter with greater ease in deployment and turnaround between delivery missions.

The project will begin modifying Wingcopters at the ZAL Fuel Cell Lab in Hamburg, attempting to fit the hydrogen equipment into the current model with as little variance from the all-electric model as possible. So far, the lab has seen about 2 hours of flight time using their in-house ZALbatros hydrogen drone using gaseous H2. The same tech, in the Wingcopter, is expected to add a similar level of endurance.

"We are very excited about the collaboration and are confident that together we can develop an even more efficient propulsion solution that benefits nature at the same time," said Wingcopter CEO Tom Plümmer. We have always wanted the Wingcopter to be able to fly even further. However, we categorically ruled out the installation of a conventional combustion engine right from the start with a view to the environment and climate change. We are happy to now explore technical possibilities in the field of hydrogen propulsion together with the ZAL experts and then put the best concept into practice." 

"Our mission is to bring hydrogen into the air and create innovative solutions for sustainable aviation," said Roland Gerhards, CEO of ZAL. “With Wingcopter as our partner, we're not only impressed by their drones' flight performance, but also by their clear vision of how urban air mobility and especially drone delivery can help improve people's lives. This aligns perfectly with ZAL's values. With our expertise, we want to convert the Wingcopter to hydrogen and thus strengthen the Hamburg UAM network Windrove with another flagship project.”



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