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PHOTO CAPTION: BirdEye mini-UAV investigates use of fuel cell to extend operational capabilities.

Florida, Israeli Firms Fly Fuel Cell Mini-UAV

Florida's Cella Energy and Israel Aerospace Industries will co-develop a mini-hydrogen fuel cell for the Birdeye mini-UAV.

Published: 29-Jul-2015

The Birdeye 650 mini-UAV 'drone' weighs 11kg (24kgs) and has, in an extended range version with larger battery pack and lighter payload, operational duration of over 3 hours. Now, through a partnership with Florida-based Cella Energy, developers of a micro hydrogen fuel cell, Israel Aerospace Industries reports that the unmanned drone can perform missions up to 6 hours.

Reports the UPI, "Cella's proprietary hydrogen technology provides a low-weight, high-performance alternative to lithium-polymer batteries typically used in small UAVs. The technology uses a plastic-like hydrogen storage material that can be pressed and shaped into any form."

The company has also developed a hybrid-electric version that uses a small ICE-age engine and starter-alternator system that can operate on missions from 20-25 hours. Funding for the project is being provided by grants from Space Florida, the State of Florida's aerospace and spaceport development authority, and MATIMOP, Israel's Industrial Center for Research and Development. The amount of the grants has not been disclosed.

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