Solid hydrogen-fueled UAV makes test flight


The successful test flight of an electrically-powered Raptor UAS prototype was completed on January 19 using Cella’s hydrogen-based power technology.

The system in the UAV is based on Cella’s solid, lightweight hydrogen storage media, which is capable of releasing large quantities of hydrogen when heated. The complete integrated system uses a Cella gas generator (producing hydrogen) and an Arcola Energy fuel cell to generate electricity. The whole unit is considerably lighter than the lithium ion-battery it replaces.

The work was funded by a grant from Innovate UK and has enabled Cella and Arcola to design and build a power system that could be incorporated into the Raptor E1, designed and built by Raptor UAS.

“This flight used a small prototype system and we were pleased with the initial flight with another flight scheduled to take place in the near future. The larger versions of this system that we are already designing will have three times the energy of a lithium-ion battery of the same weight,” said Stephen Bennington, Cella managing director.

Cella’s solid-state hydrogen storage technology also addresses the issues that surround the transportation of compressed gaseous hydrogen. Cella’s material is a solid and is not under compression, is stable in air and at temperatures below 500°C. Several larger companies are working to prove the feasibility of using Cella’s hydrogen storage material for aerospace applications.

February 12, 2016

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