Polymer-electrolyte fuel cells for UAV applications providing solutions to revolutionize UAVs

Blake A. Moffitt, Rachid Zaffou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Over the past decade, fuel cell systems have begun to appear as both primary and auxiliary power sources for aircraft. Fuel cells enable quiet electric aircraft with endurances that exceed equivalent battery powered vehicles, but have been limited to efficient fixed-wing aircraft due to low fuel cell power-to-weight ratios. This paper begins by discussing polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEFC) advancements at United Technologies Corporation (UTC) that have resulted in a significant increase in both the power-to-weight and power-to-volume ratios of fuel cell systems. As a result of these advances, UTC PEFC systems can now enable longer endurance missions for smaller UAVs as well as be considered for electric aircraft requiring vertical takeoff and landing capability. The move into vertical takeoff for electric aircraft is of particular interest as capabilities such as hover, perch and stare, and runway independence are enabled. As a demonstration of the technology, a proof-of-concept 1.75 kW PEFC system was developed that enabled the first fuel cell powered rotorcraft. This PEFC system is described and results derived from the flight tests are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSAE Technical Papers
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventSAE 2012 Power Systems Conference, PSC 2012 - Phoenix, AZ
Duration: 30 Oct 20121 Nov 2012

Other

OtherSAE 2012 Power Systems Conference, PSC 2012
CityPhoenix, AZ
Period30/10/121/11/12

Fingerprint

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)
Fuel cells
Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC)
Electrolytes
Polymers
Aircraft
Durability
VTOL/STOL aircraft
Fixed wings
Takeoff
Industry
Demonstrations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Pollution
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Cite this

Polymer-electrolyte fuel cells for UAV applications providing solutions to revolutionize UAVs. / Moffitt, Blake A.; Zaffou, Rachid.

SAE Technical Papers. Vol. 10 2012.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Moffitt, BA & Zaffou, R 2012, Polymer-electrolyte fuel cells for UAV applications providing solutions to revolutionize UAVs. in SAE Technical Papers. vol. 10, SAE 2012 Power Systems Conference, PSC 2012, Phoenix, AZ, 30/10/12. https://doi.org/10.4271/2012-01-2161
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