Intelligent Energy’s 800W Fuel Cell Power Modules (FCPMs) will be integrated by aerospace and defense technology firm Zepher into a custom-built electric Vertical Take Off and Land (eVTOL) UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) being developed for the U.S. Army.
The UAV design will feature two 800W FCPMs, used together with an Intelligent Energy Power Path Module (PPM) which connects the two modules for a 1.6kW total output. Zepher are aiming to provide the new UAV platform with up to 14 hours of flight endurance using Intelligent Energy’s fuel cell solutions.
Zepher aims to have the UAV ready for Department of Defence applications within 12 months of the start of the contract. Intelligent Energy’s FCPMs were selected because they can offer significantly longer flight time, operate quietly and require minimal maintenance. Once the initial integration of the modules has been completed, Zepher will have a design solution ready for initial production.
According to Intelligent Energy, their Fuel Cell Power Modules are the lightest and most power dense available on the market, providing benefits for a range of long-range and heavy-lift drone applications such as inspection, surveillance and delivery in both commercial and military markets.
Lee Juby, Chief Sales Officer at Intelligent Energy, commented: “Many of our customers are choosing to integrate our FCPMs into eVTOL UAVs. We know the endurance gains for standard multirotor UAV designs are impressive, however, when integrated onto an eVTOL the gains are significantly more – fuel cells are very efficient in this scenario.”
“In addition, our FCPMs are robust, reliable and fully certified so they are the ideal choice for Zepher for this project, which aims to have a design solution scalable for production once this first integration is completed.”
Rob Coatney, Lead Aerospace Engineer at Zepher, stated: “Using Intelligent Energy’s Fuel Cell Power Modules will enable Zepher to create a VTOL UAS with better operational characteristics than one with an internal combustion engine, including improved reliability, increased durability, and reduced tactical signatures.”