Hydrogen fuel cell prototypes developed by Intelligent Energy can give drones longer flight time.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or more commonly known as drones, are gaining a lot of popularity since the last few years. Drones can be used commercially in many industries and at the same time it can also be used for recreational purposes.
Batteries play an important role in drones as they determine how long the aerial vehicle can be air-bound. On Tuesday, Dec. 15, Intelligent Energy—UK-based power technology—announced that it has developed a hydrogen fuel cell range extender for drones. The range extenders can not only offer longer flight time to drones but it will also bring fast re-fuel ability.
Intelligent Energy is planning to showcase the prototype of the hydrogen fuel cell range extender on a drone during the International CES 2016, which starts Jan. 6, 2016 in Las Vegas.
Intelligent Energy stated that the enterprise and commercial use of drones are growing. However, the growth is slightly hindered by long recharge time of drone battery and short range. The company explains that the range extender combines an ultra-light fuel cell with a battery. The extender developed by Intelligent Energy can offer drones several hours of flight time in comparison to just 20 or 30 minutes as offered by regular drones.
Currently, all drones need one or two hours of recharge time between flights. However, Intelligent Energy boasts that its prototype fuel cells need just a few minutes to re-fuel.
"Even with advanced batteries their value is limited. For commercial use, they need to offer better flight times and range," said Julian Hughes, Group Business Development director and acting managing director for Intelligent Energy's Consumer Electronics Division. "That will all become possible with the release of our range extender platform."
Intelligent Energy said that the company has also conducted test flights with a camera attached to the drones, which is an important aspect of drone use in many industries.
The company explained that swift re-fuel and long flight time enhances the commercial abilities of drones when in a rescue mission, delivering a parcel and more. The new technology developed by Intelligent Energy has the potential to revolutionize the drone industry.