Hydrogen powered drones are becoming more popular by the day. The latest news via Xinhua in this green drone tech segment to complete its successful maiden flight is the Chinese LQ-H unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
Powered by a hydrogen fuel battery and developed by Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), which is also the developer of China’s C919 large passenger airplane the LQ-H UAV had a smooth flight with all its systems in good condition at an airport in Zhengzhou in central China’s Henan Province according to reports from COMAC.
Hydrogen energy can be acquired and through various sustainable energy sources such as solar power and wind energy. With a wingspan of 6 meters, LQ-H uses a hydrogen fuel cell for its main power and a lithium battery as supplementary power. The demonstration UAV model uses multiple new technologies, such as 3D printing and compound materials, to lower its weight and pave the way for new-technology application in further manufacturing.
Stating that it was substantial progress in terms of exploring new energy aircraft COMAC said that the LQ-H series technical demonstration aircraft includes four configurations, which feature in fixed and retractable landing gears, and three different empennage types.
Yang Zhigang, pre-research chief designer of Beijing Aeronautical Science and Technology Research Institute of COMAC said, “It is one of the major research directions of global aviation industry to construct a low-carbon sustainable transportation system by utilizing hydrogen energy.”
Through iterative evolution, the endurance of the LQ-H aircraft is expected to reach 24 hours. The LQ-H series was jointly developed by a research team from subsidiaries of COMAC and State Power Corporation Limited along with contribution from professional and technical resources from a domestic university and several companies.
More new configurations and technologies of the LQ-H series will be developed through the new energy-powered aircraft as a platform. According to COMAC more plans for its industrialization development are underway.