EnergyOr has joined the Plug Power! We’re very excited about the skills and technology they bring in developing advanced lightweight and compact PEM fuel cell systems to the business. For this month’s PowerSpot, we are featuring the EnergyOr team and their exciting story about building the EnergyOr business.
EnergyOr was incorporated in 2002, as a Montreal-based Canadian company, to develop lightweight, PEM fuel cells for high value-added niche markets. Very quickly, the team focused on aerospace applications for military use and developed both fuel cell and hydrogen refueling technology for ease of use in the field.
The following are some of EnergyOr’s greatest achievements:
- First fuel cell-powered UAV flights in Canada and Israel
- Ten hour flight endurance test completed in Quebec, Canada
- First fuel cell-powered UAV flight in India
- First fuel cell and longest multirotor flights in the world
- First fuel cell-multirotor flights in France and Spain
- First fuel cell eVTOL UAV flight in the world completed in Germany
Founder, Michel Bitton and Chief Technical Officer, Thomas Jones have been with EnergyOr since the start, and it is through their vision and effort that the company has achieved such a noteworthy impact on the UAV industry.
Michel, can you tell us one of the most extraordinary or unusual experiences you have had during your time leading EnergyOr?
Leading EnergyOr and its wonderful team throughout all of these years was an extraordinary experience in and of itself. Being able to lead such a team in pushing the boundaries of fuel cell technology applications to develop, innovate, and adapt our fuel cell capabilities to the stringent aerospace requirements, and to achieve so many successes and breakthroughs with our limited resources shall define the 15 years I’ve had the privilege of experiencing.
Thomas, your career includes not just your work with EnergyOr, but time also spent with fuel cell companies, Ballard and UTC. What is one of your proudest technical accomplishments with EnergyOr?
One of the most critical requirements for aerospace applications is weight. With this as our focus, we have developed hybrid fuel cell / battery systems with very high specific energy (Wh/kg) for long endurance, and very high specific power (W/kg) for take-off, hovering, transients, etc. A hybridized power system can be highly optimized for a given duty cycle, and we are experts at doing this.
I am also proud to have not only pushed the envelope of aerospace fuel cell systems, but to have developed advanced unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platforms. We were the first in the world to ever fly a fuel cell powered multirotor in March 2015, designed and built by EnergyOr. It has been very exciting to advance two cutting edge technologies and watch their convergence. I believe it is just the beginning for fuel cells in the aerospace industry, with equal opportunity for autonomous technologies.
This one is for both of you:what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and continue your work?
Working in the fuel cell industry requires a very deeply rooted conviction in the technology and its immense benefit to society. My motivation to work has, and always will be, to contribute to the commercialization of this technology, and to witness the ripples it can have throughout many critical aspects of our modern society.
Each day, I look forward to working with my talented technical team. We are problem solvers and innovators. Every morning, we have a short scrum to discuss the challenges that we will face that day, and now that we are part of the Plug Power family, we have an even bigger team to support us. I am very excited about our bright future,facing new challenges, and more importantly, overcoming them.
As you can see, the team at EnergyOr is both passionate and dedicated to the work they have done over the last 16 years. Plug Power will only be better because they have joined our team. We look forward to seeing what we will accomplish together!