Chinese company MMC, an industry-leading commercial and industrial drone manufacturer and the innovators behind hydrogen fuel cell technology for drones, have introduced the 2nd generation of their H1 – fuel cell – increasing flight endurance to an impressive 4 hour flight time.
Overcoming LiPo Battery Limitations
The H-1 Fuel Cell is a drone agnostic solution, compatible with MMC’s own widely adopted industrial drones as well as other commercial drones from manufacturers including DJI. Hydrogen fuel offers tremendous advantages over LiPo batteries. In addition to incredible flight endurance, hydrogen drones are able to fly in extreme conditions, stable in temperatures ranging from -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Farenheit) to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit.) Hydrogen fuel cells are eco-friendly and pollution-free and can refuel in under 40 minutes.
New Applications, New Opportunities
Most importantly, the longer flight times provided by the H-1 Fuel Cell open new opportunities for commercial applications. As flight beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) becomes more common in countries around the world, the long-range drone applications continue to expand. The H-1 Fuel Cell has been flying off of the shelves to provide solutions for mapping, surveying, security and search and rescue.
In countries around the world, hydrogen drone technology is proving it’s worth: providing significant ROI for industries across the board. For the power industry, long-range surveys of power line routes for vegetation encroachment not only save time and money but can also significantly reduce the risk of outages. Transportation infrastructure like railways uses long-range drones to monitor tracks for blockages or damage. Security and law enforcement agencies use drones with long flight times for border patrol, crowd control and other applications: offering a less expensive and more effective alternative to the traditional “boots on the ground” approach.
Knocking Down Technology Barriers
With the first hydrogen-powered drone, their innovative plug-and-play system of interchangeable payloads, and their family of complete and customizable drone solutions for a broad range of industrial and military uses, MMC is rapidly removing technology barriers that limit the commercial drone industry.
MMC’s Leo Liu says that’s the company’s goal: “We’ve invested in R&D, working with our clients to introduce more and better solutions for them. We’re very focused on removing technology barriers like battery endurance and on driving the industry forward.” With MMC’s 2nd generation hydrogen fuel cell, they’ve done just that.
Common industrial applications like agriculture and mapping also benefit from longer flight times. Hydrogen fuel cells provide large scale farming operations with the ability to fly over large land masses from a central location, in order to determine which areas require work that day. Drone mapping opportunities expand to larger bridges, highway and other infrastructure projects – saving construction and planning companies in survey costs and development time while providing new and better data.