New Industry Products

800W PEM Fuel Cell for Commercial UAV Applications

September 06, 2018 by Paul Shepard

Commercial UAV fleet operators will benefit from the latest product launch from Intelligent Energy, the fuel cell engineering company. InterDrone 2018 will be the launch pad for its latest lightweight product for the commercial UAV market.

The new 800W Fuel Cell Power Module (FCPM) will be showcased at the event alongside the Company’s 650W FCPM, which was launched at InterDrone 2017. The modules have been specifically designed for the commercial UAV market as they offer considerably longer flight time when compared to traditional batteries.

Key benefits of using fuel cells to power UAVs include increased productivity, less downtime owing to quick refueling and increased payload capability. In addition to the UAV market, the FCPMs can also be used for a wide range of other applications such as portable power and robotics.

Alistair Ball, Interim CEO at Intelligent Energy, said: “It’s great to be launching another new product at InterDrone. We have shown year on year that Intelligent Energy continues to lead the way in developing innovative products for the UAV market.”

The new 800W product is 10 percent more power dense than the 650W FCPM. In real terms, this means UAV operators can carry around 1500g more mass at the expense of only 100g. This can be used to carry a larger hydrogen cylinder (significantly increasing flight time), or to increase the payload capacity of a UAV.

Depending on efficiency of other aircraft components, multicopters optimized around the 800W FCPM could carry 1kg for 2 hours or 2kg for 1 hour. Fixed wing aircraft show even greater gains. In addition, Intelligent Energy will work with customers who have the capability and knowhow to combine two 800W modules to provide 1.6kW of continuous power.

The 800W product will be CE and FCC certified and is available to pre-order now, with first shipments planned for January 2019. The FCPMs use Intelligent Energy’s Air Cooled PEM fuel cell technology and run on hydrogen and ambient air to produce clean power in a simple, cost effective, robust and lightweight package. They can be integrated into UAV platforms without compromising payload, providing an optimized, operational solution for a wide range of industries.

Alistair Ball added: “The 800W FCPM is a great addition to our product range.  There is a growing push towards opening up beyond line of sight operation, which means extended flight time is a must for many fleet operators.”