In the Netherlands, the French Navy and engineers have designed a drone powered by hydrogen, capable of flying for hours.
If they are introduced more and more in our life, and especially in our sky, the drones ultimately remain very limited in their movement and it is still very difficult for the vast majority of them to travel very long distances without polluting the atmosphere. Today, however, Dutch engineers are presenting the first large-scale step forward towards more autonomous drones, and the Micro Aerial Vehicle Laboratory at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has joined forces to do so. associated with the Royal Navy and the Dutch Coast Guard. Together they developed the first drone partially powered and propelled by hydrogen .
The drone in question, with a wingspan of three meters, weighs only 13 kilograms. It is armed with twelve propeller motors, allowing it to continue moving forward even if the one of them breaks down. For its propulsion, the drone s ‘fitted with a 6.8 liter carbon composite hydrogen tank connected directly to an 800 Watt electrode which converts the energy emitted in electricity but also in oxygen and water vapor, the only residual substances in the process. Everything is combined with an additional electric battery, producing a little more power only during vertical takeoffs. The machine even benefits from a system that allows the electrode to recharge the battery, during a hover . The prototype was recently put to the test in the open sea, to show the efficiency of the system. It proved it was able to take off from a moving boat, fly above the waves for about 3 and a half hours , before returning to land without a hitch on board. If the performance is impressive in itself, the Dutch scientists are particularly pleased with the “cleanliness” of their drone. “One of the most important aspects of our project is the air propulsion powered by hydrogen , underlines Henri Werij, director of the faculty of aerospace engineering at the University of Delft, in a press release relayed by SlashGear . The whole world regards hydrogen as one of the best candidates for an ecological and sustainable fuel in the field of aviation. “