Liquid Hydrogen Energy for Drone Transatlantic Flight

H3 Dynamics and Hylium Industries have joined forces to boost the performance of zero emission hydrogen-electric flight for a cross-Atlantic demonstration drone flight. Hylium and H3 Dynamics technologies are currently being integrated to attempt a 3,300km crossing of the South Atlantic, in a program led by ISAE SUPAERO Toulouse, one of the world’s leading aerospace engineering schools. The companies are combining the strengths of Hylium’s liquid hydrogen storage and liquification solutions, and H3 Dynamics’ distributed hydrogen-electric propulsion nacelles, ultra-light fuel cells, and new hydrogen drone refueling stations. H3 Dynamics’ team developed a special fuselage design that can store a small LH2 tank and manage the thermal behavior of all the propulsion sub-systems.

Moving to liquid hydrogen represents a significant leap in capability for small electric-powered unmanned systems. Cryogenic (liquid) hydrogen stores 3 times more energy than compressed gas in the same volume. The 25kg hydrogen-electric propulsion UAV demonstrated by H3 Dynamics last July in France will be able to fly over 900km with a single fill. This will potentially vastly expand the scale of delivery drone, mapping and ISR missions. With pressurized hydrogen, that range reduces to 400km, which is still 3 times more than a battery-powered equivalent. “When combined, our global best-in-class solutions achieve the global performance limit for low-altitude electric powered flight” said Taras Wankewycz, H3 Dynamics CEO. “We are proud to be working with Hylium to move hydrogen-electric flight propulsion to the next level.”

H3 Dynamics hydrogen-powered UAVs including airships, multi-rotors, and VTOLs will be able to further boost flight durations by a factor of 3 over pressurized hydrogen systems, or a factor of 10 compared to batteries. H3 Dynamics also recently announced an automated hydrogen refueling mobile station for hydrogen UAV operations. The H2FIELD mobile station produces hydrogen from water and delivers compressed hydrogen gas tanks to the operator with little human intervention and no required hydrogen expertise. H3 Dynamics and Hylium’s partnership will upgrade the station so that it can fill liquid hydrogen tanks. captions:

-1. Liquid hydrogen multi-rotor drone working towards a 10-hour flight capability. (Photo: Business Wire)
-2. Joint development for transatlantic crossing with ISAE-SUPAERO Toulouse, H3 Dynamics – using HYLIUM Liquid hydrogen storage (Photo: Business Wire)
-3. H3 Dynamics Liquid hydrogen nacelles with Hylium Liquid hydrogen tank (Photo: Business Wire)
-4. H3 Dynamics on-demand hydrogen production, storage and filling trailer system named “H2FIELD” now adding liquid hydrogen on-demand as its next step. (Photo: Business Wire)

Watch a video on Hylium hydrogen-based drone flight here. For more details on Hylium’s liquid hydrogen storage and liquification solutions, visit its website here. To learn more about H3 Dynamics’ distributed hydrogen-electric propulsion nacelles, ultra-light fuel cells, and new hydrogen drone refueling stations and its technology, visit its website here. Read a summary of the project at Businesswire.com.

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