The problem of drones are batteries – batteries are just heavy so that most of the drones can fly for several of minutes. For this reason drones producers are looking for new solutions. One of them is hydrogen fuel cell. Manufacturers believe that with hydrogen fuel cells, they will definitely extend the flight time of drones.
We in drone-magazine.com certainly are fascinated by the technologies associated with drones develop. We think it is worth the drive into hydrogen discuss and see its perspectives.
Hydrogen fuel cells
Drones powered by internal combustion engines are lightweight, have high power and coverage, but they are not without drawbacks. These drones are loud, and the noise the engine makes it easier to detect drones. In addition, the combustion engines used for propulsion drone emit a lot of heat, so that the machine can be traced through infrared detectors – such detectors are used, eg. in homing rockets. The problem of internal combustion engines is also that emit harmful gases.
Some output may be to replace the internal combustion by electric motor powered by a rechargeable battery. However, the batteries are relatively heavy. That’s why designers are interested by fuel cells. Here comes the hydrogen. The cost of the use of hydrogen is comparable with the price of gasoline. Such a fuel cell would also be approx. five times lighter than a battery that would provide a similar range of flight.
With hydrogen drive drone it is much quieter (though still you will hear the propeller) and does not emit as much heat as the internal combustion engine. The fuel cell operates at lower temperatures, and if it is located in the shield will be almost unnoticeable infrared cameras. At night you can not see such an aircraft, or almost do not hear – is therefore almost impossible to detect. The plane does not emit or environmentally harmful exhaust gases, or even excess heat (in the exhaust is only water vapor). To increase the range machine chemical source of hydrogen can be used – hydrogen is produced when in flight, during a chemical reaction. With this embodiment, provided with a container of similar volume and weight drone could fly without interruption much longer.
Such drones can be used not only military, but also the police. Such unmanned aircrafts could also be used to check the security of energy networks and forests. Emergency or observe wildlife from using drones is the working time machine. Perhaps soon the problem will be eliminated by hydrogen-powered drones.
The advantages of hydrogen-powered drones:
- Clean, zero-emission energy, free from the electrical grid
- Longer flight time – fuel cells provide drones over twice the flight time is compared batteries
- Speed and ease of refueling – replace fuel canister in seconds, unlike which battery charging can take hours
- Low vibration, so steady platform for image capture – a lightweight fuel stack
- Hydrogen is not yet as popular as fuel or electric drive – hydrogen needs PR
- Hydrogen is not common – hard to buy hydrogen needed to drive drone
- Certainly drive the hydrogen for the drones will become more popular when fully deployed hydrogen-powered cars. At the moment there are still very few.
- Technology should still develop. People are really interested in new technologies these days
- Price is still too high.
- Government should buy and use some drones for police, army and state rervices. People will buy such drones next.
Hycopter is the most popular hydrogen-powered drone. For us it is amazing drone. but we still believe that such drones can be much better soon. We are looking forward…