Hydrogen Fuel cell technology boosts drone flight
Fuel cell vehicles run on clean-burning hydrogen and are three times more efficient
A fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that converts the chemical energy of a fuel (often hydrogen) and an oxidizing agent (often oxygen into electricity through a pair of redox reactions. Fuel cells are different from most batteries in requiring a continuous source of fuel and oxygen (usually from air) to sustain the chemical reaction, whereas in a battery the chemical energy usually comes from metals and their ions or oxides that are commonly already present in the battery, except in flow batteries. Fuel cells can produce electricity continuously for as long as fuel and oxygen are supplied.

The first fuel cells were invented by Sir William Grove in 1838. The first commercial use of fuel cells came more than a century later following the invention of the hydrogen–oxygen fuel cell by Francis Thomas Bacon in 1932. The alkaline fuel cell, also known as the Bacon fuel cell after its inventor, has been used in NASA space programs since the mid-1960s to generate power for satellites and space capsules. Since then, fuel cells have been used in many other applications. Fuel cells are used for primary and backup power for commercial, industrial and residential buildings and in remote or inaccessible areas. They are also used to power fuel cell vehicles, including forklifts, automobiles, buses, trains, boats, motorcycles and submarines. 

A UK-based energy tech company is demonstrating how hydrogen fuel cells can be used to significantly extend the range of commercial drones. Intelligent Energy says its technology can extend flight times from 15 minutes to up to two hours, benefiting a range of industries from inspection to search and rescue.

STORY-LINE: Lift-off for this four-rotored quadcopter, but this is a drone with a difference. In this muddy Loughborough farmer's field, around 170 kilometres north of London, experts from UK-based energy group Intelligent Energy are testing what they claim to be a game-changer for drone tech. While it may not appear different from current commercially-available UAVs, this drone is powered using two hydrogen fuel cells. The only waste product is warm air and water. This, Intelligent Energy claims, solves two of the biggest problems associated with current battery-powered drones: flight time and re-fuelling.


Toyota was the first to put a commercial fuel cell powered car on the road, and I have no doubt that Toyota will continue to be in the front lines in the development of competitive fuel cell vehicles. 
                                                                                                                                                                                  Maurice Strong

Fuel cell technology boosts drone flight

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