Hydrogen fuel to boost range of drones seven-foldMarch 31st, 2009 - 2:05 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, March 31 (IANS) Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones that scan terrains unobtrusively for possible threats and intelligence can now fly farther and carry heavier loads with the help of fuel cells.
This latest technology has been showcased by Ion Tiger, a UAV research programme at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington that merges two separate efforts - UAV technology and fuel cell systems.
Ion Tiger tests a hydrogen-powered fuel cell design, which can travel farther and carry heavier payloads than earlier battery-powered designs. The craft employs stealthy characteristics due to its small size, reduced noise, low heat signature and zero emissions.
Ion Tiger’s flight trial is expected to exceed the duration of previous flights seven-fold.
“Pursuing energy efficiency and energy independence are core to the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) power and energy focus area,” said Rear Admiral Nevin Carr, chief of naval research.
Fuel cells create an electrical current when they convert hydrogen and oxygen into water and are pollution-free. A fuel cell propulsion system can also deliver potentially twice the efficiency of an internal combustion engine while running more quietly and with greater endurance, according to an ONR release.
“In this size range, we are hopefully able to conduct very productive surveillance missions at low cost with a relatively small vehicle, and a high-quality electric payload,” said NRL principal investigator Karen Swider-Lyons.
“This will really be a ‘first of its kind’ demonstration for a fuel cell system in a UAV application for a 24-hour endurance flight, with a five-pound payload,” said ONR programme manager Michele Anderson. “That’s something nobody can do right now.”
- Fuel cell powered unmanned air vehicle sets unofficial flight endurance record - Oct 14, 2009
- Unmanned aerial vehicles take flight using fuel cells - Mar 31, 2009
- Hydrogen-powered unmanned plane sets 26-hour flight endurance record - Dec 01, 2009
- Unmanned aerial system achieves flight endurance milestone - Aug 07, 2009
- Mahindra launches hydrogen-powered three-wheeler - Jan 09, 2012
- New tech zaps trash mounds into fistfuls of ash - Nov 16, 2011
- MLD test gets US Navy one step closer to lasers for ship self-defense - Apr 09, 2011
- Waste vegetable oils could be used to make fuel of the future: Study - Jul 28, 2010
- Robotic jellyfish invented - Mar 21, 2012
- Fuel cells developed that may help paralysed move - Jun 14, 2012
- DRDO's UAV 'Nishant' completes confirmatory flight trials - Feb 03, 2011
- Indian rocket engine test successful - May 13, 2012
- New material helps increase efficiency and decrease cost of fuel cells - Oct 19, 2009
- Software tweaks to make undersea robots smarter - Dec 05, 2011
- Indian-run New Zealand firm designs UAV for cloud seeding - Mar 26, 2012
Tags: endurance flight, energy focus, fuel cell design, fuel cell system, fuel cell systems, fuel cells, heat signature, hydrogen fuel, internal combustion engine, michele anderson, naval research laboratory, office of naval research, onr, pound payload, propulsion system, quality electric, rear admiral, surveillance missions, unmanned aerial vehicles, zero emissions