EnergyOr Technologies Inc. , a leading developer of advanced PEM fuel cell systems, recently demonstrated what are believed to be the world’s first fuel cell powered and longest ever duration multirotor VTOL UAV flights, flying for a record 2 hours, 12 minutes and 46 seconds. This demonstration was performed to highlight EnergyOr’s improvements in overall fuel cell system specific power (Watts/kg), a critical requirement for multirotor UAVs, while still maintaining an exceptional specific energy (Watt-hours/kg), allowing flight times that are 2 to 3 times longer than those possible with state-of-the-art, rechargeable Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries. A conventional, commercial heavy lifting Quadrotor airframe was used to ensure versatility for a wide range of applications, with the aircraft’s AUW at 9.5 kg and payloads up to 1 kg. Further optimization will be performed in the coming months and EnergyOr expects to improve upon these results by extending the flight endurance with similar payloads up to 4 hours.
The commercial market for multirotor UAVs used in civil applications is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years, namely for applications such as hydro and rail line inspections, precision agriculture, search and rescue missions and film production, to name a few. Battery powered multirotor UAVs have very limited flight times due to existing rechargeable battery technologies. Read the complete article here.