A British company, Intelligent Energy, claims that its development is radically transforming drone technology. At first glance, they are like commercially available structures, but this experimental model works with hydrogen. By-products of the combustion process are water and warm air. The inventors say they solved the problem of short flight times and refueling. The two fuel cells at the top take oxygen from the air the propellers help the process and here, at the bottom, is the hydrogen tank. Hydrogen and oxygen flow through the cells, creating a direct current, explains Julian Hughes, acting director of consumer electronics at Intelligent Energy. According to experts, the turnover of commercial drones will increase at an accelerating pace in the coming years: by 2022, it could reach seven billion euros. The invention of the British company solves the most burning problem.
The biggest problem with current battery technology is that the machine can only be in the air for just 15 minutes and it takes hours for the battery to charge again. Our fuel cell solution significantly increases flight time, which can be as long as an hour or two, and you don’t have to bother with axes, we change the fuel source in a minute, says Julian Hughes. Intelligent Energy recently announced a partnership with one of the largest wire manufacturers. However, the energy group doesn’t just see fantasy in the drones. The market has moved and more and more car factories are using fuel cells in aircraft as well. But fuel cells are used as a backup power source for cell phone towers and generators, stresses Julian Hughes. Intelligent Energy hopes that fuel cell drones will hit the market next year. The company is also working with a smartphone maker to develop a hydrogen battery that will last for more than a week.