A power company may have found a workaround for the famously short battery life of drones in the form of hydrogen power

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Drones are gaining in popularity and reputation as image and video-making tools, however the one main hurdle users still have to overcome is that brutally short flight time, which generally curtails your aerial expeditions to a maximum of about twenty minutes.

However, UK-based power technology company Intelligent Energy may have cracked it with a new modified UAV powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. The firm says that this new drone will be able to stay airborne for up to two hours – six times as long as the 20-minute time most current drones are achieving.

The hydrogen fuel cell also recharges quickly, in a matter of minutes according to Intelligent Energy, which is again a welcome improvement over the hour-plus charge times of most conventional batteries. The cells are located on the top of the drone, with a fuel tank on the bottom.

This greatly expanded flight time could open up a great deal of potential for video users – even if you carry extra batteries with you, you’re still hampered by the need to bring the drone to land and physically changing them over, interrupting your shots. With the hydrogen model, you’d need to do this much less frequently. An airborne multi-hour timelapse? It’s not so far-fetched!

The drone is slated to be aimed at commercial users, and the company are working on a prototype at the moment, with the intent of getting a version released by 2017.

For more intrepid drone users expanding UAVs’ long-haul capabilities, check out this recent project from Enduro, who managed to get a drone all the way across the English Channel!

  • Tonya

    interesting, one of my clients is a startup fuel cell company here in china, their fuel cells are the size of shipping containers lol but do provide upto 600kwh of power…