(Invited) Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Powered Small Unmanned Aerial Systems for Long Endurance

Tuesday, 30 May 2017: 16:10
Grand Salon B - Section 9 (Hilton New Orleans Riverside)
D. Chu (U.S. Army Research Laboratory)
Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Powered Small Unmanned Aerial Systems

For Long Endurance

Deryn Chu(1), Rongzhong Jiang(1), Zachary Dunbar(1) and Kevin Chu(2)

  1. U. S. Army Research Laboratory

    2800 Powder Mill Rd., Adelphi, MD 20783-1107

  2. 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).


  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98BIu9dpwHU

  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98BIu9dpwHU&feature=player_detailpage

  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CYT4PFV_Hs