Down with the batteries, I’m flying “fuel cell”!

April 12, 2016 | 14:35
Image source: BBC
Image source: BBC
With hydrogen fuel cells, a commercial, electric drone could spend up to two hours hanging in the sky, be refueled almost instantly after landing, and then take another 120 minutes in the air. Such performance beats batteries hands down. Intelligent Energy attached a hydrogen fuel cell to a DJI Matrice 100 quadcopter. The fuel cell and its fuel weigh just 3.5 pounds, which is lighter than the battery it replaces.
 
Intelligent Energy attached a hydrogen fuel cell to a DJI Matrice 100 quadcopter. The fuel cell and its fuel weigh just 3.5 pounds, which is lighter than the battery it replaces. Hydrogen fuel sometimes comes with unique risks, but the National Hydrogen Association thinks those risks are overblown.

The company has been making hydrogen fuel cells since 2001, and recently demonstrated their drone on BBC’s Click. Intelligent Energy isn’t the first to make such a device: Boeing and others have their own fuel-cell drones. What makes this design stand out is the simple reality of it: a normal quadcopter, with a new power source, hovering in a gymnasium as though it was supposed to do this all along.

Intelligent Energy expects the drone to enter the business market within the year, and be available for consumers after that. Watch the BBC Click segment on it below:
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