Protonex, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ballard and developer advanced fuel cell power solutions for UAVs, has released a technical whitepaper that investigates remote hydrogen fuelling solutions for fuel cell powered UAVs.
The paper highlights the challenges of access to hydrogen fuel in remote locations where UAVs are deployed and explores how hydrogen can be produced on-site from water through electrolysis, as a means of fuelling UAVs operating in remote locations.
Hydrogen fuel cells provide greater endurance, range, and operational flexibility for UAVs. However, UAVs powered by proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells require high purity hydrogen as the fuel and currently the hydrogen supply infrastructure is somewhat limited, particularly in remote locations. As such, small on-site production of hydrogen is a practical and flexible means of bridging gaps in hydrogen infrastructure.
Water electrolysis for hydrogen production is well proven and is a promising option for hydrogen production from renewable resources in remote locations. Electricity is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen in a unit called an electrolyzer.
The paper goes on to explain how a deployable refuelling system would be part of a UAV ground control system and addresses considerations such as power and water supply, and pressurization.
Protonex has commercialized and deployed several products designed for end-users in military and commercial markets that are currently underserved by batteries and small generators and has received development programs from U.S. military and U.S. government organizations. As experts in portable power solutions, Protonex understands the needs of unmanned systems when it comes to power.
Contact Protonex to find out more about deployable packaged solutions for UAV propulsion and fueling solutions based on fuel cell systems and on-site hydrogen generation supply using electrolysis.
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