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H2 Powered Drone: 3.5 Hour Flight Time

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Old December 19th 20, 07:19 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Larry Dighera
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Default H2 Powered Drone: 3.5 Hour Flight Time

H2 Powered Drone: 3.5 Hour Flight Time
VIDEO: https://youtu.be/lzvsctwbL2c


TU Delft maritime hydrogen drone flies longer and greener

A drone that can fly sustainably for long distances over land and
water, and can land almost anywhere, will be able to serve a wide
range of applications. There are already drones that fly using 'green'
hydrogen, but they either fly very slowly or cannot land vertically.
That’s why researchers at TU Delft together with the Royal Netherlands
Navy and the Dutch Coastguard service developed a hydrogen-powered
drone that is capable of vertical take-off and landing whilst also
being able to fly horizontally efficiently for several hours, much
like regular aircraft. The drone uses a combination of hydrogen and
batteries as its power source. The first successful tests were held in
one of the most challenging scenarios: from a ship sailing on the open
seas. This also brings maritime applications within reach and
represents a new step in making aviation more sustainable.

A drone that flies over densely populated areas or the open sea has to
be able to take off and land vertically, for example on an apartment
complex or the afterdeck of a ship. This drains a lot of power from
the battery and is detrimental to the flight duration. Fossil fuels
are often used to increase aircraft range and endurance, though this
is not a particularly sustainable solution. Moreover, to fly
efficiently over long distances, a drone needs wings, however, fixed
wing drones require additional facilities to land them, such as a
runway or a net . So all in all up to now no drones have been
developed that can sustainably fly long distances and still take off
and land almost anywhere.

Bart Remes, Project Manager of the Micro Aerial Vehicle Lab (MAVLab)
at TU Delft: “That is why we developed a drone that can take off and
land vertically using hydrogen plus a battery set, and that during the
horizontal hydrogen-powered flight can recharge the battery via a fuel
cell, ready for the vertical landing. The fixed-wing design and the
use of hydrogen means the drone can fly horizontally for hours at a

The fully electric drone weighs 13kg and has a wingspan of three
metres. It is also very safe: it is powered by 12 motors so even if
several motors fail, it can still land safely on the afterdeck of a
ship, for example.

The drone is equipped with a 300 bar, 6.8 litre carbon composite
hydrogen cylinder. The cylinder feeds hydrogen at low pressure to the
800w fuel cell that converts it to electricity. The only emissions are
oxygen and water vapour. In addition to the fuel cell that supplies
electricity to the motors, there is also a set of batteries that
together with the fuel cell provide extra power to the motors during
the vertical take-off and landing.

The knowledge acquired while designing the drone can be used to make
aviation greener. Henri Werij, Dean of the Faculty of Aerospace
Engineering at TU Delft: “One of the most important aspects of this
research project is the hydrogen-powered flight. Worldwide, hydrogen
is seen as one of the most important contenders for achieving a green
and sustainable aviation fuel.”

Drones are already regularly used for flying over land, but flying
over the sea brings many extra challenges. Wind, salt water, a moving
ship with limited take-off and landing facilities, these are all
dynamic conditions that put high demands on the drone. This is why the
TU Delft hydrogen drone was not only tested in a wind tunnel, but also
on Royal Netherlands Navy and Dutch Coastguard service vessels,
sailing on the open sea off the Dutch coast.

Thanks to the combination of the wings and the hydrogen cylinder and
battery, the TU Delft drone was able to stay airborne in stable flight
for over 3.5 hours. These properties make the drone suitable for
providing support in reconnaissance and inspection tasks.

Commander Pieter Blank: “Introducing new technologies demands a more
exploratory approach than we are used to. The current generation of
young people grow up in this way of learning and experimenting, and
for us they are our personnel of the future. This is why we are making
every effort to work together with others to create operational
applications for these technologies. As an innovator in the Royal
Netherlands Navy and Dutch Coastguard service, I am proud of this
cooperation with TU Delft. The development of the maritime,
hydrogen-powered drone is a true technical breakthrough which has huge
future potential.”

More information
Please check the following website for more information and
photo/video: http://www.nederdrone.nl/

Bart Remes, project manager Micro Air Vehicle Lab (MAVLab) TU Delft:
, +31 15 27 83707
Ilona van den Brink (TU Delft press office):
+31 15 27 84259
Fanneke Eelman-Frinks (Royal Netherlands Navy press office),
, +31 6 124 18 436
Edwin Granneman (Dutch Coast Guard Service press office),
, +31 223 – 658319


Hydrogen-powered VTOL drone flies for 3.5 hours
By Ben Coxworth
November 12, 2020

A composite photo of the drone taking off from a coastguard ship
A composite photo of the drone taking off from a coastguard shipTU

VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) drones are quite versatile, as
they combine the vertical flight of a helicopter with the fast and
efficient forward flight of a fixed-wing airplane. This one features
an extended range, thanks to a fuel cell power system.

The experimental aircraft was developed by a team at the Netherlands'
Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), working with colleagues
from the Royal Netherlands Navy and the Netherlands Coastguard. It has
a 3-meter (9.8 ft) wingspan, weighs 13 kg (29 lb), and features 12
motor/propeller units distributed on its two wings. Even if several of
the motors fail, it can reportedly still fly and land successfully.

The drone is also a "tail-sitter"-type VTOL. This means that when
taking off and landing, its body is angled upwards, allowing the
propellers to work more like a helicopter's rotor blades. For going
into forward flight, the thrust is electronically redistributed
between the 12 motors, causing the aircraft to level out into a
horizontal orientation.

Another multi-exposure take-off shot
Another multi-exposure take-off shot
TU Delft
It additionally incorporates an 800-watt fuel cell, which is fed by an
onboard 300-bar (4,351-psi), 6.8-liter carbon composite hydrogen
cylinder. In forward flight, the motors are powered solely by that
fuel cell, which also charges an onboard battery pack. For take-offs
and landings – which require considerably more power than cruising –
both the fuel cell and the battery power the motors.

In a recent trial conducted off the Dutch coast, the drone took off
from the deck of a coastguard ship, then proceeded to fly over the
open ocean for 3.5 hours before landing back on the vessel. It is
hoped that the aircraft could ultimately find use in applications such
as reconnaissance and inspection.

You can see it in action, in the video below.

Source: DU Delft

Novel versatile hydrogen drone developed by TUDelft - MAVLab [EN]

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