Autonomous Zero Carbon Hydrogen Drone Program to be Launched in France

By Mike Ball / 19 Sep 2018
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Hydrogen drone base

HES Energy Systems, a developer of high-performance hydrogen fuel cell propulsion systems, has announced its expansion to France to begin work on the first decentralized hydrogen infrastructure for autonomous fuel cell powered drones.

The move is part of HES’ broader goals to introduce long range zero emission aviation powered by renewable hydrogen, the most energy dense element in the universe. From its lab in Singapore, HES has spent the last ten years developing advanced ultra-light hydrogen propulsion systems that are up to 10 times lighter than batteries. Following a number of international experiments powering small unmanned aircraft for record durations, HES’ systems are now being scaled up to power larger manned electric aircraft, potentially revolutionizing aerial logistics and mobility – increasing their flight range while eliminating carbon emissions.

A subsidiary of H3 Dynamics, HES is part of the France-Singapore innovation link that continues to intensify between both countries. Last year H3 Dynamics set the tone by opening its European headquarters in Paris. HES is now following suit and joining forces with France’s world-class aerospace and hydrogen eco-system. As part of its set up in France, HES is announcing its partnership with professional unmanned aircraft builder Delair and ERGOSUP, a French start-up developing energy-efficient hydrogen production systems.

Derived from a broader 2016 French National Call for Projects looking to deploy hydrogen technologies into airport applications in Toulouse, HES’ partnership will focus on creating infrastructure around smaller-scale hydrogen unmanned aircraft. “Starting with smaller scale aerial vehicles help turn bigger visions to reality faster, and reduces the challenges related to commercializing complex technology,” says Taras Wankewycz, CEO of HES and parent company H3 Dynamics.

HES envisions scaling up the program to a continental network of hydrogen air bases for a fleet of autonomous, long-range and electric aircraft. The joint initiative will create economic and social benefits, while starting the path to reducing carbon emissions in aviation. “We are proud to start our initiatives in France and we look forward to bright outcomes together with our partners. This is a major step toward an exciting prospect: zero emission aerial mobility,” continued Wankewycz.

Aligning well with HES’ roadmap, 50+ global leaders in the energy, transport, and industrial sectors, led by the CEO and Chairman of Air Liquide and the Chairman of Hyundai came together to announce their landmark commitment to 100% decarbonized hydrogen for all mobility applications by 2030. France’s government has meanwhile launched a national hydrogen plan to utilize hydrogen across all sectors.

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