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Wed, Feb 06, 2019

Fuel-Cell-Powered UAV Flies For More Than 10 Hours

Intelligent Energy UAV Fuel Cell Power Module Selected For Korean Customer’s Record-Breaking Endurance Flight

South Korean liquid hydrogen specialist MetaVista has demonstrated a record breaking 10 hour and 50 minute multi-copter test flight using an Intelligent Energy Fuel Cell Power Module.

The flight was conducted using the Loughborough-based fuel cell engineering Company’s lightweight 650W Fuel Cell Power Module (FCPM) and is believed to be the longest flight time of its kind. MetaVista used 390g (14 ounces) of liquid hydrogen in a specially designed 6 liter (1.6 gallon) cylinder.

MetaVista has developed the ultra-lightweight liquid hydrogen storage tank to specifically work with Intelligent Energy’s FCPM. The MetaVista liquid hydrogen system coupled with the Intelligent Energy 650W FCPM system provides a significant 1865Wh/kg energy density.

"We have been focused for some time on developing lightweight, robust fuel cell power modules for UAVs that can offer commercial users something that batteries simply cannot – significantly longer flight time," said David Woolhouse, CEO at Intelligent Energy. "We are pleased to have worked with MetaVista on this test flight, which has demonstrated that liquid hydrogen can increase that flight time further still when compared to compressed hydrogen – three times longer! This is a real game changer for commercial users who need longer in the air. We look forward to seeing MetaVista develop their product commercially over the coming months.”

"Our aim was to significantly increase the flight time for commercial UAV operators. Using Intelligent Energy’s lightweight Fuel Cell Power Module we have been able to achieve this," said Dr. Jong Baik, MetaVista Inc. CEO. "The Intelligent Energy team has worked closely with us and we are delighted to be working with them. Together with our liquid hydrogen production and storage expertise, it has proved to be a successful partnership.”  

Fuel cells are an ideal power choice for commercial and military UAVs as they can offer significantly longer flight times when compared to traditional batteries.

Intelligent Energy has products which are suitable for UAVs in the 5-20kg (11-44 pound) weight range currently available to the commercial UAV market. Its products will be on display at upcoming UAV shows; Japan Drone March 13-15 in Chiba-City, near Tokyo, and AUVSI Xponential April 30-May 2 in Chicago.

(Image from Intelligent Energy video)

FMI: www.intelligent-energy.com

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