Intelligent Energy has developed the technology to power drones using two hydrogen cells, not only lessening the impact on the environment, but allowing drones to fly for longer and thereby eradicating one of the biggest problems of such flying machines.
The only waste products from the fuel cells are water and air, rather than emissions from fossil fuels needed to generate electricity for rechargeable batteries used by most drones on the market.
“Major shortcomings to drone development are range and flight time. Using fuel cells to power a drone can markedly increase the flight time,” said Julian Hughes, Acting Managing Director for Intelligent Energy’s Consumer Electronics Division. ” A longer flight time and, therefore, increased range means drones become much more viable for commercial use.”
The setup comprises two fuel cell stack that suck oxygen from the air. Fans help the flow going, while hydrogen situated underneath the fans simultaneaoulsy runs across the fuel cell plates to produce electrictiy, which powers the drone.
The only thing you’ll need to keep topped up is the hydrogen, which you’ll be able to find quite easily if you know where to look.
The technology has been compared to that used in cars and other backup applications such as mobile phone towers and generators that consume large amounts of power.
Intelligent Energy said it has signed a deal with a large drone manufacturer and it’s expecting to get commercial units using the tech on the market within the next 12 months.
“Our embedded fuel cell technology was well received at CES and we have had huge levels of interest from manufacturers so we are, of course, absolutely delighted to be signing our first letter of intent on the back of the show,” Hughes added.