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Mon, Nov 05, 2007

Hydrogen Powered UAV Capable Of 310 Mile Range

Uses Hydrogen Fuel Cells

An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle powered with hydrogen fuel cells just broke a world record by flying 78 miles, 28 miles farther than the previous record set in 2006. It might look to you like a typical model airplane, but it's a UAV called the Pterosaur powered by a highly efficient hydrogen fuel cell and its makers say that "you haven't seen anything yet," according to Gizmodo.com.

The distinguished group of scientists who created the Pterosaur says it only used a quarter tank of fuel, anticipating more world records to be broken with this plane that has a range of 310 miles.

Powered by the hydrogen fuel cell similar to the one inside the HyFish, lifting body aircraft as previously reported, the scientists are impressed with this record-breaking performance, and say there are even more sophisticated fuel cell power plants for aircraft on the way.

This is significant as environmental laws emerge to limit carbon emissions into the atmosphere globally and as UAVs become more prevalent. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) also happen to be the fastest growing segment of the aerospace industry today, a market estimated by the Teal Group to be worth $54 billion over the next 10 years.

Globally, aviation accounts for approximately 4 to 9 % of the climate change impact of human activity, and it is also the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies. One technology that offers the possibility of reducing the environmental impact of the aviation industry is emerging fuel cell technology.

Fuel cells are quiet and clean electrical power sources and have low thermal signature. Such devices can be used for primary or auxiliary power generation in centralized or distributed electrical configurations.

Starting small, Horizon identified the nearest term commercial opportunity for its fuel cell systems to reside in small unmanned aircraft currently using electrical propulsion systems, where a performance advantage exists already today. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) also happen to be the fastest growing segment of the aerospace industry today, a market estimated by the Teal Group to be worth $54 billion over the next 10 years.

FMI: www.horizonfuelcell.com/UAV.htm

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