Unmanned Systems Technology 024 | Wingcopter 178 l 5G focus l UUVs insight l CES report l Stromkind KAT l Intelligent Energy fuel cell l Earthsense TerraSentia l Connectors focus l Advanced Engineering report

64 A s competition in hydrogen fuel cells for UAVs grows, it is becoming increasingly important for developers to identify which part of the unmanned vehicle market they want to design their solution for. To that end, Intelligent Energy (IE) has produced a hydrogen fuel cell aimed principally at replacing battery systems in small-to-micro UAVs weighing up to 8 kg. The company is developing fuel cell products for UAVs, stationary (on-site) power and the automotive industry. The latter of these includes a 10-year relationship with Suzuki to develop hydrogen-powered motorcycles being trialled by the London Metropolitan Police, and a fleet of black cab taxis developed with a HyTec (Hydrogen Transport in European Cities) consortium led by IE and debuted at the London 2012 Olympics. In addition, the company has collaborated with Boeing, and through that in 2008 it demonstrated the world’s first manned flight using fuel cells. Every past solution across its 20- year history has used proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology, it being the company’s core area of expertise and experience. That remains the same with its newest product for UAVs, an 800 W module. The company originally started investigating and developing the potential for a UAV fuel cell system in June 2015, when IE’s Advanced Concepts team began prototyping small quadrotor UAVs that could fly for three to four times longer with hydrogen than the 15-20 minute endurances afforded by battery power. About 20 endurance test flights were conducted through to March 2016, when IE carried out its first public demonstration with a flight in England at Loughborough University’s campus, which is near its offices. The tests confirmed that the power output of the fuel cell technology and Rory Jackson investigates the development of this hydrogen fuel cell for small UAVs, which offers far greater endurance than battery power Gas mileage February/March 2019 | Unmanned Systems Technology Intelligent Energy’s small fuel cells enable UAVs up to 8 kg to fly three to four times longer than with batteries, and refuel with hydrogen gas much quicker than battery swaps