Hydrogen-Powered Hycopter has Two Hours Flight

Electrically powered quadcopters typically fly 15-20 minutes but Singapore-based Horizon Energy Systems’s (HES) CEO Taras Wankewycz is hoping that his team of fuel cell scientists and engineers will change all that.

Horizon Energy Systems’s hydrogen-powered hycopter can already fly for two hours, and Mr Wankewycz is hopeful of four hours by year’s end.

The HES team is aiming to have the hycopter ready for testing by year’s end and in market after that. Australia is very much in their sights.

“It’s very possible that we’ll sell our first units to a pretty large operator in Australia for things like railroad and road inspection,” Mr Wankewycz said.

Mr Wankewycz is also an executive director of HES’s parent firm Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, which began working in the general hydrogen fuel cell space 12 years ago, and cut his teeth working for Eastman Chemical.

“We started with educational science kits way back then, and we kept perfecting the technology,” he said.

One early invention, a 6-inch long toy car called the H-racer, was featured by Time Magazine in its list of best inventions in 2006. “I think our company sold close to a million fuel cells because of our science education initiatives.”

Horizon’s first hydrogen-powered aircraft made its inaugural flight the same year. It has been producing fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), typically used in defence and aerospace, with hydrogen fuel cells for five years. Consumer hydrogen fuel cells with USB ports designed to power smartphones and other devices sell on Amazon.com in the US for about $US100.

Horizon is not alone in this venture with automakers and the US Army keenly developing them. But it’s the challenge of quadcopters that inspires Mr Wankewycz and he said his firm hands down makes the lightest fuel cells in the world.  Read more.

Courtesy: UAS Vision