Feeds

Fuel-cell UAV achieves 'record' distance

Tech could replace battery whisper-drones

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

A fuel-cell company has announced a "record-breaking" flight by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) propelled by one of its fuel cells.

Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies of Singapore revealed on Friday that the Pterosaur UAV had made a 78-mile flight in California. Lots of UAVs have flown further than this, but Horizon claim it is a record for a "micro" UAV, which they define as one weighing less than 5kg.

Here's the obligatory YouTubage:

While Horizon developed the hydrogen fuel cells which powered the aircraft, the remaining systems integration came from partner organisations including universities in America and Singapore. The fuel cell itself, according to Horizon, offered power density better than 480 Watt-hours per kilogram.

That's good compared to batteries, but pretty poor compared to conventional aviation fuels. Horizon are probably right to be focusing on very small UAVs, which are sometimes battery powered - typically for reasons of stealth. Thus far, the besetting sin of small electric sky-spies used by soldiers and cops has been poor endurance, and such customers might pay well for an equally silent little hand-launched plane which could stay up for longer.

The plods and soldiery certainly wouldn't want to cart troublesome pressurised hydrogen around with them to fuel up small skydroids; but Horizon have that in hand. The existing Pterosaur runs on pressurised hydrogen, but Horizon have a joint venture with Millennium Cell, whose hydrogen-on-demand™ fuel cartridge tech stores hydrogen in the form of sodium borohydride.

This sort of application isn't going to change the world overnight, but it is interesting. Following generations of kit might be useful to workaday customers too, rather than just the military-security world.

The Horizon release is here (pdf). ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.