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  • Fuel Cell UAV Breaks 24h Barrier
    Posted by Graham Warwick 5:56 PM on Nov 24, 2009

    The US Naval Research Laboratory's Ion Tiger has beaten its own unofficial endurance record for a fuel cell-powered UAV - set as recently as October - completing a 26hr 1min flight on Nov. 16-17 carrying a 5lb payload. Its previous record was a mere 23hr 17min.

    blog post photo
    Photo: NRL

    The 37lb Ion Tiger is powered by a Protonex Technology-supplied 550W (0.75hp) hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell providing seven times the energy in the equivalent weight of batteries, says NRL. The next step is to increase the power of the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell to 1.5kW to enable flights of up to three days carrying a tactical payload.

    United Technologies Research Center, meanwhile, has flown the first fuel cell-powered rotorcraft, completing a 20min flight with a 10kg radio-controlled model helicopter modified from battery power to a 1.7kW PEM fuel cell. The prototype hydrogen/air fuel-cell powerplant has a system power density of more than 500W/kg, says UTRC.

    Video: UTRC

    Tags: ar99, NRL, UAV, fuelcell

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