Fuel Cells for Aerospace & UAVs

“Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will be the most dynamic growth sector of the world aerospace industry this decade, more than tripling in the next decade,” according to Teal Group analysts in their 2018 market analysis. Teal Group’s 2018 World Civil UAS Market Profile and Forecast projects that non-military UAS production will total $88.3 billion in the next decade, with military drone spending adding another $34 billion.

EnergyOr, a Plug Power company, is a leader in fuel cells for UAVs, setting several world records for endurance flights through the use of their innovative fuel cell technology.  In March of 2015, we powered the world’s first fuel cell multirotor UAV, later used in conjunction with the French Air Force’s Centre d’ Expertise Aérienne Militaire (CEAM).  In December 2015, the H2Quad 400 was developed, becoming the first fuel cell quad rotor in the world to operate outdoors in a real-world environment. Hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) UAV solutions provide longer duration flights and the benefits of fast fueling, allowing customers to maximize the utilization of these assets.

EnergyOr H2Quad multirotor UAV

Electrically-powered UAVs typically use Lithium Polymer (LiPo) battery packs as an energy source, which effectively address many of the critical UAV system requirements, except one:long flight times. In fact, this is the main limiting factor for all military or commercial electric UAVs in the market today. HFC systems have the ability to fill this gap, while meeting all of the key UAV requirements.

The key advantage of EnergyOr’s fuel cell technology is its high specific energy (Watt-hours per kilogram). Simply put, our innovative fuel cell technology has been designed to fit a lot of runtime into a lightweight product, which significantly increases the amount of time the UAV may be flown when compared to battery-powered UAVs. Fuel cells can meet all these key requirements and offer the following advantages:

  • Ease-of-use
  • Long endurance
  • Higher electrical power availability due to more energy intensive payloads
  • Low vibration and emission levels for sensitive sensor payloads
  • Reduced life cycle costs
  • Reduced operational costs
  • Fewer take-offs and recoveries (to reduce risk of damage to airframe, payload, etc.)
  • Broader mission or service capabilities
  • Improved environmental compatibility
  • Low noise signature

 

EnergyOr’s Achievements in Aerospace & UAVs

DateLocationAccomplishment
April 2017GermanyWorld’s first fuel cell-powered transition UAV-TRON H2 (VTOL Hybrid)
January 2017FranceFuel cell-powered H2Quad 1000 delivered to French Air Force
July 2016SpainLive demonstration of fuel cell-powered H2Quad 1000
June 2016FranceLive demonstration of fuel cell-powered H2Quad 1000 to French Air Force – first ever in France
December 2015CanadaEnergyOr’s fuel cell H2Quad 400 flies over 2 hours with 4K camera
October 2015CanadaFirst fuel cell-powered multirotor to operate in a real-world environment
May 2015CanadaEnergyOr demonstrates longest ever fuel cell-powered multirotor UAV flight for 3 hours 43 minutes, 48 seconds
March 2015CanadaEnergyOr demonstrates world’s first fuel cell-powered and longest ever multirotor UAV flight for 2 hours 12 minutes, 46 seconds
August 2011CanadaLong endurance flight of over 10 hours, powered by fuel cell UAV, Faucon H2
December 2007IsraelFirst company to ever fly a fuel cell-powered UAV in Israel
May 2007CanadaFirst and only company to ever operate a fuel cell-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)

 

PRODUCT INFORMATION
ProGen Engines for Aerospace Applications | EnergyOr EPOD