Issue 41 Unmanned Systems Technology December/January 2022 PteroDynamics X-P4 l Sense & avoid l 4Front Robotics Cricket l Autonomous transport l NWFC-1500 fuel cell l DroneX report l OceanScout I Composites I DSEI 2021 report

62 I n issue 6 of this magazine (February/ March 2016) we featured the NW-44, a 44 cc two-stroke, single-cylinder engine from Northwest UAV (NWUAV) running on gasoline and heavy fuel. It has been a major commercial success, logging more than 20,000 flight hours, powering professional-grade UAVs in the 18-34 kg weight class across various mission applications, and now available as an 88 cc version for 34-68 kg unmanned aircraft. We are now revisiting the company to investigate its newest UAV powertrain offering, the NWFC-1500, a 4.3 kg proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) system rated to 1500 W net DC output. Why would a successful multi-fuel UAV engine company move into producing hydrogen fuel cells? NWUAV says that in principle it considers itself broadly as a power and propulsion supplier, and adds that it intends to continue not only supplying and maintaining the engines in its portfolio, but optimising and expanding those lines. However, a comprehensive series of studies has convinced the company that expanding into hydrogen-electric power is the next logical direction in which to move its attention. Why does a multi-fuel UAV engine company add a hydrogen fuel cell to its line-up, and how does it do so? Rory Jackson reports Building a new power base December/January 2022 | Unmanned Systems Technology Northwest UAV’s NWFC-1500 is a 4.3 kg PEM fuel cell designed to produce 1500 W peak power (Images courtesy of NWUAV)