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A maritime hydrogen-powered VTOL drone: lots of innovation in one!

The Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands has developed a maritime VTOL drone using a combination of hydrogen and batteries for its propulsion. The project is led by the Micro Aerial Vehicle Lab (MAVLab) at TU Delft, in cooperation with the Dutch Navy and the Dutch coastguard.

(Credit: TU Delft)

Bart Remes, Project Manager said “we developed a drone that can take off and land vertically using hydrogen plus a battery set, and that during the horizontal hydrogen-powered flight can recharge the battery via a fuel cell, ready for the vertical landing. The fixed-wing design and the use of hydrogen means the drone can fly horizontally for hours at a time.”

The drone has a wingspan of three metres, is powered by 12 motors and is equipped with a 300 bar, 6.8-litre carbon composite hydrogen cylinder. Batteries are used for take-off and landing, while hydrogen is used for horizontal flight. It was operated from a boat, which is probably the most complicated platform to proof the concept.

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