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Hydrogen-Powered Drone Flies for 3.5 Hours

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Hydrogen-Powered Drone Flies for 3.5 Hours

Addressing short flight durations is one of the final frontiers in drone technology is yet another innovative use case of drone technology-HES Energy Systems which has announced the commercial launch of HYCOPTER, an industrial-grade multi-rotor drone designed for large-scale industrial maintenance inspections.

With a long-standing reputation for producing the world’s lightest and most compact fuel cell systems, which can be as much as 5 times lighter than lithium batteries HES has been pushing the limits its energy storage technology increasingly further, working from Singapore on various UAV programs and with leading aerospace institutions around the world. This follows a first world distance record set in the US by a NASA-backed team from OSU over 10 years ago. HES currently capable of over 700Wh/kg system-level specific energy is now working to push the envelope thanks to a variety of novel technologies.

After several years of work, HES merged its core technologies with a specially adapted multi-rotor design to extend flight durations to 3.5 hours, instead of the typical 20-30 minutes with the conventional lithium batteries. The resulting HYCOPTER will now be able to sustain precision cameras and other sensors in the air for much longer, opening up new commercial use cases while reducing operational costs for service providers. It also includes a new breakthrough 140g pressure regulator capable of reducing hydrogen pressure from 350 bar to 0.5 bar. Other system components include specially designed HES fuel cell stacks capable of generating over 1W per gram.  Using bottled industrial-grade hydrogen from local hydrogen suppliers HYCOPTER needs only minutes to recharge. One can envision a future where long range cargo drones would be deployed from autonomous hydrogen “droneports”.

Versions of HYCOPTER will emerge next in transitional wing VTOL applications, and the same HES core technology is now being scaled up to power manned electric aviation as well as other aerial mobility platforms in discussion with various international aerospace companies.

Designed in Austin, Texas a local production base is being set up for manufacturing HYCOPTER. HES Energy Systems is the energy storage technology unit- a part of the H3 Dynamics group, a company working on the final frontiers of drone technology, including key aspects like complete drone and data automation. It focuses on programs which include drone automation base stations that leverage on hydrogen technology to provide off-grid power and data communications in remote locations. Based out of Singapore, the group has now subsidiaries in Paris, France and in Austin, Texas, as well as local support teams in Brazil and Japan. H3 Dynamics is backed by Toyota Mirai Creation Fund Japan via SPARX, by ACA partners, Sensyn Robotics Japan and Capital Management Group.

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