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Industrial Technology Research Institute

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Innovative Hybrid Power System for High Endurance and Heavy Load Commercial UAVs

Technology Overview

Innovative Hybrid Power System for High Endurance and Heavy Load Commercial UAVs.
Innovative Hybrid Power System for High Endurance and Heavy Load Commercial UAVs.

Now that UPS (2019/10) and Prime Air (2020/08) have passed the relevant US FAA regulation 135 capability certifications, logistic delivery services will quickly launch extensive drone applicability tests. However, heavy payload and insufficient energy will still be big challenges. ITRI’s fuel cell hybrid powered UAV system can overcome these difficulties while providing flight times 2-3 times longer than those powered by LIBs of the same weight.

This achievement makes use of an ITRI-developed high endurance fuel cell hybrid power system with high efficiency hybrid power technology combined with lightweight and high-power fuel cell stacks. Research results show commercial drones with a payload of 10 kg can reach 74 minutes of flight time when configuration of payload and hydrogen tank are optimal. Meanwhile, in cooperation with the company AVIX, flight tests of a fuel cell powered helicopter have been successfully completed. Over an accumulated flight distance of 300 kilometers, safety and reliability have been confirmed. Flights across the sea from Yilan to Guishan Island and from Penghu to Wangan have been carried out to verify the feasibility of logistic delivery. These solutions pave the way for heavy payload high endurance UAVs.

Applications & Benefits

Commercial drones with a payload of 10 kg can reach 74 minutes of flight time when configuration of payload and hydrogen tank are optimal.