For Long Endurance
Deryn Chu(1), Rongzhong Jiang(1), Zachary Dunbar(1) and Kevin Chu(2)
U. S. Army Research Laboratory
2800 Powder Mill Rd., Adelphi, MD 20783-1107
U. S. Army CERDEC. CP&I/Power Division
5100 Magazine Rd.
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005
Small unmanned aerial systems (SUASs) have great potential for many different applications (1-3). The SUASs are light-weight, man-portable, and capable of carrying payloads. SUASs can be broadly classified by their performance characteristics such as engine type, weight, speed, and endurance. Currently, small UASs are powered by lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries; however, flight endurance is limited and requires frequent battery replacement. Frequent battery replacement is due to low capacity and energy density (less than 200Wh/Kg). Numerous research and development efforts have focused on alternative power sources. These alternative power sources include technologies such as solar cells and hydrogen based polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells. Recently, a long endurance flight time for SUASs have been demonstrated through propane fueled solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) systems. In this presentation, we address propane fueled SOFC to power a ~20lbs unmanned aerial system for 8hrs (4x improvements over the competing battery technology).