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New Joint Fuel Cell Development Will Extend Flight Times For Surveillance Drones

By September 14, 2021 2   min read  (372 words)

September 14, 2021 |

Fuel Cells Works, Intelligent Energy to Visit AUVSI Xponential to Showcase its Market Leading Fuel Cell Products for UAV's
  • Initial phase to focus on next generation product development of IE-SoarTM UAV fuel cell modules
  • Project will develop fuel cells ready for MoD operational capability

Loughborough — Intelligent Energy (IE), the manufacturer of the world’s lightest and most power dense solution for UAVs, announces today the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) will be funding via the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA), phase one of a project (“Project Pegasus”) which will scale fuel cells for MoD operational capability within three years.

As part of phase one of the project, the funding will look at the next generation product development of the company’s IE-SoarTM 800W module, which is currently available to commercial UAV operators who need higher endurance solutions for their missions. The next generation product will be designed with a level of robustness required for military environments.

Additionally, phase one will look at sourcing suitable expeditionary hydrogen refuelling stations for onsite hydrogen generation and refilling in remote locations – eliminating any requirement for fuel logistics.

Jonathan Douglas-Smith, Aerospace Specialist at Intelligent Energy said: “Our IE-SoarTM modules are to be the focus of the development work. The MoD currently do not use PEM fuel cells in their operations. This project enables us to work with the UK MoD to develop a next generation lightweight PEM fuel cell product which satisfies defence requirements.”

He continues: “The project will also investigate suitable hydrogen refilling stations for refuelling in situ, which is a critical requirement set by the UK MoD and the key to start exploiting the capability of the technology. The product focus is on our IE-SoarTM modules for UAVs but we expect there to be cross over with our other product ranges, including the IE-LiftTM modules which are a zero emission portable power solution.”

NavyX, the innovation arm of the Royal Navy, will be managing this project with funding from the Royal Navy, the Army, StratComm, the Royal Air Force and the MoD’s Defence Innovation Fund.

Phase one of the project will run for eight months under the DASA contract. The exploitation plan anticipates trials of the IE-Soar TM 800W integrated into military products next year subject to funding being available for phase two of the project. Final MoD operational deployment is expected in 2023.

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