Arcturus and HEC-TINA to Develop Hydrogen-Fueled Engine for UAVs

By Mike Ball / 12 Dec 2016

Arcturus T-20 UAV

The Hydrogen Engine Center (HEC-TINA) and Arcturus UAV have announced that the two companies have formed a joint partnership to develop a hydrogen fueled internal combustion engine capable of supporting Arcturus’ T-20 family of unmanned aircraft.

Defense organizations face significant logistical, safety, and security challenges in the transportation and storage of large amounts of heavy fuel (diesel) required to fuel unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations. Diesel is the most commonly available fuel overseas, and has led to a demand for small UAV heavy fuel engines. These engines can be unreliable and are a significant cause of aircraft losses due to engine failure. They are expensive, and require extensive preventive maintenance. Small gasoline engines (Mogas or even high octane low lead) are much more reliable but have their own problems – access to refining is spotty, and local supplies are of inconsistent quality.

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To resolve these problems, and reduce the risk, reliability, and logistical challenges of shipping gas from the U.S., another fuel alternative is needed.

This initiative will enable development of remotely located “filling stations” to both manufacture and store fuel necessary to support UAV operations.

The objectives of this research and development include the ability to provide a long endurance, highly reliable, low heat signature, lightweight, zero- or very low emission engine; and to develop a system of filling stations engaged in the production and storage of fuel in the region of operations.

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact