Compact Hydrogen and PEM Fuel Cells for UAVs and Drones

Intelligent Energy Ltd
Intelligent Energy

Intelligent Energy is a leading developer of PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cell technologies for drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Our lightweight, power-dense UAV fuel cell modules allow customers to bypass the constraints of traditional battery technology, significantly extending drone flight times and ranges while producing clean DC power in a robust and lightweight package that can be refuelled in minutes.

Our UAV Fuel Cell Power Modules (FCPMs) are ideal for a wide range of professional commercial applications, including offshore inspection, search and rescue, aerial photography and mapping, precision agriculture and more.

Jump down to learn more about our Fuel Cell Technology >

Fuel Cell Power Modules

Hydrogen Fuel Cells for UAVs and Drones

UAV Fuel Cell Power

Our Fuel Cell Power Modules (FCPMs) for UAVs provide clean, efficient DC power from only hydrogen and ambient air, with zero emissions. With a higher energy-to-mass ratio than traditional battery systems, they can provide commercial UAVs with over three times the flight endurance, allowing you to maximise productivity, minimise downtime and achieve more in a single drone flight.

Fly Further | Fly Longer | Increase Productivity

Hydrogen cylinders are quick to refuel or swap out, and size can be specified for particular flight times and UAV payload capacities. Both FCPM and cylinder have multiple mounting possibilities, providing maximum flexibility for a variety of UAV airframes and missions. Custom cylinders can be commissioned for optimised flight time.

FCPMs are hybridised with a small battery, used to support the production of peak power and to provide redundancy. The system is vibration-free to prevent interference with drone cameras and other sensitive payloads.

Lightweight UAV power module

Our FCPMs are available with 650W and 800W power outputs, as well as our latest 2.4kW fuel cell power module. They can be integrated into a variety of multi-rotor and fixed-wing UAV platforms, and can directly replace the UAV’s existing battery in many applications.

Two 2.4kW modules can also be linked in parallel to provide up to 4.8kW of power without the need for additional hardware. The module provides continuous power to the UAV and is hybridised with a small battery to manage peak loads.

Specifications:

Drone Fuel Cell Power Module 800W Drone Fuel Cell Power Module 650W UAV Fuel Cell Power Module
2.4 kW Fuel Cell Module 800W Fuel Cell Module 650W Fuel Cell Module
Maximum continuous power 2400W 800W 650W
Maximum peak power 4800W 1400W 1000W
Output voltage 44-50.4V 19.6–25.2V 19.6–25.2V
FCPM mass 3250g 930g 810g
FCPM dimensions 130 x 430 x 230mm 196 × 100 × 140mm 196 × 88 × 140mm
Regulator mass 250g 250g 250g
Maximum regulator pressure 350 bar/5000 psi 300 bar/4350 psi 300 bar/4350 psi
Battery mass 340g 300g 230g
Battery dimensions 120 x 35 x 45 mm 120 × 35 × 40mm 140 × 30 × 20mm
Battery capacity 2000mAh 1800mAh 1300mAh
Operating temperature range -5 to 40°C 5 to 35°C 5 to 35°C
Maximum altitude 3000m 3000m 3000m

Power Path Module (PPM)

Double FCPM output to power larger UAVs and heavier payloads

Compact Fuel Cell Power Path Module

The Power Path Module (PPM) is a proprietary design that facilitates the linking of two of Intelligent Energy’s FCPMs in series with convenient plug-and-play operation. Already surpassing the output of traditional batteries when used singly, our UAV FCPMs can be connected together in pairs to provide even greater power output for larger UAVs that can support heavier payloads.

The PPM is compatible with any two identical modules from Intelligent Energy’s UAV FCPM range. The PPM can be configured for single or dual regulator operation, allowing you to power the FCPMs from one or two hydrogen cylinders.

Power Path Module Cylinder Configurations

Specifications:

Dimensions (LxWxH) 110 × 95 × 25mm
Mass 150g
Output voltage 44.4 – 50V
Operating temperature 5–35°C
Maximum altitude 3000m
Maximum continuous power 1300W (2× 650W FCPM)
1600W (2× 800W FCPM)
Maximum peak power (<30 seconds) 2000W (2× 650W FCPM)
2800W (2× 800W FCPM)

Learn more: Power Path Module

Fuel Cell Technology

Fuel cells use electrochemical reactions to produce electricity without combustion. Hydrogen fuel cells combine hydrogen with oxygen from the air, emitting only heat and water as by-products. Fuel cells are more efficient than internal combustion engines, and unlike batteries, do not need recharging and will continue to operate as long as they are provided with fuel.

Fuel cell technology is both scalable and modular, providing the ability to simply stack cells together to achieve desired power output. PEM fuel cells, in which the electrolyte is a proton-conducting solid polymer membrane, feature the highest power densities of any of the fuel cell types, making them ideal for UAV applications where size, weight and power (SWaP) are often highly constrained.

Fuel Cell Stack Technology

Our fuel cells are air-cooled, with heat from the fuel cell stack conducted to cooling plates and removed through airflow channels, resulting in a simplified and cost-effective power solution.

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