FlightWave Aerospace Launches New Hydrogen-Powered UAS

By Mike Ball / 14 Sep 2017
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FlightWave Aerospace Systems Jupiter-H2 UAS

FlightWave Aerospace Systems has announced its second UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) product, the hydrogen-powered Jupiter-H2. The hydrogen fuel cell technology powering the aircraft, which comes through a partnership with Intelligent Energy, gives the Jupiter-H2 heavy-lifting capability plus greater endurance.

The Jupiter-H2 uses a narrow-profile 70 cm airframe, with a high-thrust power plant consisting of eight motors driving cross-flowing fan blades. The three-liter hydrogen tank fuels nearly two hours of continuous flight, lifting up to almost three pounds of payload.

“We view the Jupiter-H2 as a game-changing vehicle,” said FlightWave CMO Edmund Cronin. “It’s particularly well suited to use cases requiring both long flight time and stable maneuverability in narrow indoor or outdoor spaces — for example, in a very large but cramped warehouse.”

Intelligent Energy’s hydrogen fuel cell technology gives the Jupiter-H2 certain advantages over battery-powered UAS:
High-endurance: Most quadcopters have limited flight times of about half an hour. The Jupiter-H2 nearly quadruples the flight endurance of those typical aircraft, thanks to hydrogen’s high energy-to-weight ratio — packing a lot more energy into each flight.
Heavy Lift: Extra energy and lighter energy means more power to lift & carry payloads.
Clean, Quiet, and Emission Free: Fuel cells have no moving parts – they are virtually silent and pollution-free, emitting only a tiny amount of water vapor.

“Our partnership with Intelligent Energy has been a key element of the Jupiter-H2’s development,” added Cronin. “They are pushing the limits of hydrogen fuel cell technology, making the fuel cell lighter yet more powerful.”

The two hours of flight time is approximate and varies with the payload, which can be a maximum of 1,250 g (2.75 lbs), enabling simultaneous use of multiple sensors and cameras. Subsystems can draw power directly from the fuel cell, thus avoiding the need for those systems to carry their own batteries, which reduces overall weight.

The Jupiter-H2’s composite airframe maximizes strength, minimizing structural weight. Refueling takes minutes, instead of the hours of charge time a battery would require. The aircraft’s universal mount system accommodates almost any sensor or camera.

Julian Hughes, Senior VP of Intelligent Energy US Inc, said: “It’s great to be back at InterDrone launching this game changing product, just 12 months on from demonstrating a prototype. We are delighted to be working with FlightWave, a company which shares our vision and passion for creating innovative solutions to realize the full potential of commercial UAS.”

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