Air Platforms

Hydrogen could unlock UAV endurance boost, say US Navy academics

09 April 2019

Key Points

  • Researchers are to test claims that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) powered by hydrogen fuel cells have six times the endurance of battery-only models
  • If the claims are verified, the roll-out of fuel cell technologies will have “wide ranging operational impacts” for the US fleet

Staff and students at the US Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) are to explore the comparative performance of UAVs powered by hydrogen fuel cells and conventional batteries.

The institution has issued a request for quotes for a rotary-wing UAV equipped with a hybrid-electric propulsion system consisting of a fuel cell ‘stack’ plus batteries, with a maximum take-off weight (including payload) of 14 kg.

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