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This hydrogen-powered drone can remain airborne for up to four hours

By Shawn Knight
May 22, 2015
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  1. hydrogen-powered hydrogen drone aerial drone hydrogen-powered drone hycopter horizon unmanned systems hus

    One of the major shortcomings of today’s drones – even the really expensive models – is battery life. You’re doing good if you can get 20-25 minutes of flight time on a full charge but a company by the name of Horizon Unmanned Systems (HUS) recently unveiled a drone that can stay in the air for up to four hours. How so, you ask?

    It’s powered by a lightweight hydrogen fuel cell.

    The rating drops to just two and a half hours when carrying a payload of 2.2 pounds. Even still, two and a half hours is insane compared to what’s currently available.

    hydrogen-powered hydrogen drone aerial drone hydrogen-powered drone hycopter horizon unmanned systems hus

    As Gizmag points out, the Hycopter stores 4.2 ounces of hydrogen gas at 5,067 PSI in its structural tubing which will be constructed of carbon fiber when it ships. This amount of hydrogen should be able to provide the same amount of power as 6.6 pounds of lithium batteries. The finished product will tip the scales at around 11 pounds and will feature 375W of hover power and 800W of climb power.

    Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a while to get one as HUS hasn’t even flown its prototype yet (that’s not slated to take place until later this year). Pricing has yet to be determined.

    Whether or not this particular drone is successful, its use of hydrogen could convince other manufacturers to abandon lithium batteries.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar TS Evangelist Posts: 6,477   +965

    Very cool! This is huge!
     
  3. noel24

    noel24 TS Maniac Posts: 304   +154

    No, not cool. It's compressed H2, not liquid (LH2). Doesn't look that huge either. Meter by meter maybe? But still, impressive. Also expensive. I wonder if they could power a drone with LPG? Would drive cost down considerably, while adding weight, obviously, as it would need some combustion engine/gas turbine with electricity generator.
     
  4. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,149   +1,424

    Slowly but surely, these become flying bombs.

    You send it a good distance away, and find it shot down by some yahoo, just for the fun of it.

    Last image taken by your expensive drone:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
    davislane1 and WangDangDoodle like this.
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,541   +2,337

    I've always found long barrel shotguns to be bothersome. This only confirms that drones feel similarly, albeit for entirely different reasons.
     
  6. risc32

    risc32 TS Booster Posts: 195   +87

    I really don't think you're allowed to just walk out in to your yard and start shooting a gun. in most places that is. most places that might have drones.
     
    stewi0001 and mailpup like this.
  7. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,662   +769

    Not to mention that most hillbilly's prefer pump shotguns to the over/under variety which are far too expensive ... not to mention lacking that very distinctive sound when racking in a new shell ..... :)
     
  8. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar TS Evangelist Posts: 6,477   +965

    Yeah it may not be monumental but I think it is definitely a good development. Drone runtime is definitely a huge problem with drones currently.
     
  9. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,290   +239

    I'm afraid we've heard "Whether or not this <blah blah> is successful, its use of hydrogen could convince other manufacturers to abandon lithium batteries." a few too many times over the years... I mean, aren't we supposed to be in a completely oil-free society with hydrogen fueled vehicles, fuel cells in our electronics, etc. etc. I'm a little jaded on just how revolutionary it will be, in the grand scheme of things.

    That said, I'm looking forward to where this heads. At least in this case of drones, it's an application that lends itself well to the fuel cell idea, without the particular demands and issues that other attempts at replacing batteries in products have slammed into.
     

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