Estonian drone manufacturer SKYCORP has doubled the maximum flight time of its hydrogen-powered e-Drone Zero. The commercial drone can now fly for two hours with help from a new, ultra-lightweight gas cylinder from AMS Composite Cylinders.
Endurance-focused quadcopter hits the market in June
The e-Drone Zero is a drone built for endurance and intended for commercial operations. It features a compact, custom military-grade frame and is powered by an air-cooled hydrogen fuel cell module from UK specialists Intelligent Energy.
The e-Drone’s new extended flight time capability was achieved by swapping the original 1.5L cylinder, which weighed around 1kg, for AMS’s innovative new 3L carbon composite cylinder. Essentially the new cylinder provides double the gas capacity of the previous iteration while increasing the system weight by just 600g.
Beyond lithium-ion batteries
SKYCORP unveiled a demo unit of the original e-Drone Zero in November 2018 at the Commercial UAV Show in London.
The new AMS cylinder has increased the wt% H2 ratio by 17% (from 3.31 to 3.87), extending the flight time of the unit to 2 hours, double the 1-hour flight time achieved by the demo unit.
Marek Alliksoo, CEO at SKYCORP said, “e-Drone Zero utilises the latest hydrogen fuel cell and AI systems to deliver a huge step change in drone performance – improvements that simply can’t be achieved using today’s lithium-ion battery technology.
“When it comes to powered flight, every gram matters, and we’re always looking for ways to streamline the design. Hydrogen fuel cell systems provide significant advantages in terms of power to weight ratios – and using AMS cylinders helps to compound these benefits. Switching to the new AMS cylinders has provided a huge increase in the hydrogen capacity per kilo, enabling e-Drone Zero to fly significantly further and carry heavier loads.”
New possibilities across the commercial drone industry
The e-Drone Zero can now fly 3 to 4 times longer than any Lithium-ion powered electric drones. The new flight time capability makes it a viable option for more extensive surveys, security/surveillance missions, search and rescue and more.
SKYCORP are exhibiting the e-Drone Zero at AUVSI Xponential 2019 at the moment on the Intelligent Energy stand (3413). Production units will be available from June.