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HES Energy Systems ‘Partners Up’ for Hydrogen Powered Drone Project

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HES Energy Systems ‘Partners Up’ for Hydrogen Powered Drone Project

HES Energy Systems ‘Partners Up’ for Hydrogen Powered Drone Project

A Singaporean company has teamed up with three French companies in a project which aims to address the ‘global market’ which encompasses hydrogen refueling systems, energy storage, and power conversion.

HES ENERGY SYSTEMS (HES) is a leading fuel cell systems developer based in Singapore and in collaboration with three French clean energy and aerospace companies, ERGOSUP, AIRBORNE CONCEPT and AD-VENTA, their project FLY-HY will make its debut this year at the Singapore Airshow.

Singaporean Energy Tech company HES Energy Systems powers French air-droppable drone by Airborne Concept using a 10h hydrogen on demand fuel cell system (Photo: Business Wire)

Taras Wankewycz is the founder and CEO of HES ENERGY SYSTEMS (part of H3 DYNAMICS), the company develops small-scale battery alternatives based on its special breed of ultra-light hydrogen fuel cell systems capable of storing energy at over 700Wh/kg, 3 to 4 times the electrical energy per weight ratio of lithium batteries.

Wankewycz says the lightest energy carrier in the universe is the hydrogen molecule and while the majority of current electric aircraft research has been focused on using much heavier lithium batteries, they envisage a clear opportunity to “contribute to the exciting world of electric flight”.

HES began in a small manner with big ideas, the company looked to increase the flight duration of small electric powered unmanned aircraft (UAVs) or drones, using its special lightweight fuel cell and hydrogen storage technology.

Wankewycz says the company has been working closely with numerous tier-one electric-UAV manufacturers and they believe a scaled-up version of its products could also improve the flight range for personal mobility aerial vehicles as well as electric-powered passenger aircraft.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Former French President François Hollande have proclaimed 2018 to be the ‘ Year of Innovation between France and Singapore’, highlighting clean technology as one of the key focus areas.

In June 2017, H3 Dynamics established its European HQ in Paris, a decision warmly welcomed by President Emmanuel Macron and his government.

H3 DYNAMIC then combined its “Made in Singapore” aerospace-grade hydrogen fuel cell capability with complementary “Made in France” high tech solution.

AIRBORNE CONCEPT, based in Toulouse, is backed by Airbus and ERGOSUP, backed by Air Liquide, is now adapting its innovative systems to refueling small HES-powered hydrogen drones. AD-VENTA which produces hydrogen gas storage devices; this four company partnership makes for a ‘unified value chain’.

HES Energy Systems and ERGOSUP are also working in partnership with DELAIR, another French drone tech company, on project HYDRONE, a French national project which  aims to deploy five hydrogen drone and refueling systems capable of covering the entire French territory during 2018 and 2019.

The launch of the Hydrogen Council in 2017, aimed to promote a new ‘hydrogen economy and society’,  has gathered together such high-profile companies as Air Liquide, Alstom, AngloAmerican, BMW Group, Daimler, Engie, Honda, Hyundai, Shell, Linde, Total, Toyota, Audi, General Motors, Statoil & Iwatani,  working together with HES Energy Systems.

HES Energy Systems is a global leader in developing ultralight fuel cells and hydrogen energy storage systems for aerospace and other weight sensitive applications. Hired by tier-one UAV manufacturers, and leading aerospace institutes around the world, the company uses a variety of hydrogen storage approaches, including gaseous compressed, chemical hydrides and reforming. HES was acquired in 2015 by H3 Dynamics Group, which is developing off-grid field robotics and AI-enabled data services.

ERGOSUP has developed an innovative hydrogen production process based on zinc electrochemistry. Its first product is a 350 bar hydrogen generator supplying 1 to 5 kg of hydrogen per day. ERGOSUP is planning to launch a simple and cost competitive H2 generator capable of filling up “plug and play” composite cylinders, allowing hydrogen to be supplied for a single drone or a fleet. The company is backed by ALIAD (Air Liquide Venture Capital), DEMETER PARTNERS, GO CAPITAL and ARKEA Capital Investment.

Airborne Concept specializes in the design, development and construction of innovative drones. Two patented UAVs, the world’s first air-droppable drone and a VTOL are the pride of the Airborne Concept teams, made up of former flight crew members from the French Air Force and engineers graduated from aeronautical engineering schools. Airborne Concept is developing air-droppable drones for Special Forces and its Up-Start drone for parcel delivery. The company has also developed an ADS-B transponder for drones, an essential link in the identification of drones in the airspace.

AD-VENTA specializes in on-board gaseous hydrogen systems (H2 Pressure and Flow Rate Regulation). With in-house factory design and realization, the compact, safe and accurate turnkey solutions proposed by AD-VENTA are based on a large patent portfolio and expertise in control of high pressure compressed gases. Its markets include automotive, light mobility, aerospace and naval applications. Aerial, Ground, Surface and Underwater Unmanned Vehicles powered with hydrogen fuel cells are its short-term development targets.

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