Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Long Endurance Solution for Drones

Drones have been implemented in numerous applications as a time and man power saving solution. Applications for Defense and civil, both required drone with good endurance to take out the full mission in one shot. And battery pack was the only solution to power the drone for flying. To solve out the endurance problem, we tried out many options like on board two battery packs, different types of brush less motors like T-Motors e.t.c. Hardly, some of us achieved endurance up to 1 hour. But it was not very pleasing. As technology improving day by day, a company named Intelligent Energy has implemented Hydrogen Fuel cell technology in drones to keep up it airborne more than two hours.


A fuel cell is a device that converts chemical potential energy into electrical energy.  Hydrogen Fuel cell is the combination of Compressed Hydrogen and Air (for oxygen). In Fuel cell Hydrogen is supplied to the anode and oxygen in the form of air supplied to the cathode. In drones, we can put the compressed hydrogen small cylinder as a payload and get the oxygen from the air. Now the fusion time, both the components (H2 & O2) wants to react and merge. But directly cannot do this because of the presence of catalyst in Fuel cell. The only species that can migrate across the catalyst are ions. In this case Hydrogen drops the electrons to become protons. After this protons move across the catalyst and pick up electrons at the cathode in order to react with the oxygen and to form water. Thus, the only way for the reactions to proceed is if the proton flux through the catalyst is balanced by an electron flux through an exterior circuit. This electron flux, or electrical current, is precisely what provides electrical power. In short, Hydrogen and oxygen combine to form the water and electrons from the hydrogen are diverted to power the drone.

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