The NederDrone: A hybrid lift, hybrid energy hydrogen UAV

11/08/2020
by   Christophe De Wagter, et al.
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A lot of UAV applications require vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) combined with very long-range or endurance. Transitioning UAVs have been proposed to combine the VTOL capabilities of helicopters with the efficient long-range flight properties of fixed-wing aircraft. But energy is still a bottleneck for many electric long endurance applications. While solar power technology and battery technology have improved a lot, in rougher conditions they still respectively lack the power or total amount of energy required for many real-world situations. In this paper, we introduce the NederDrone, a hybrid lift, hybrid energy hydrogen-powered UAV which can perform vertical take-off and landings using 12 propellers while flying efficiently in forward flight thanks to its fixed wings. The energy is supplied from a mix of hydrogen-driven fuel-cells to store large amounts of energy and battery power for high power situations. The hydrogen is stored in a pressurized cylinder around which the UAV is optimized. This paper analyses the selection of the concept, the implemented safety elements, the electronics and flight control and shows flight data including a 3h38 flight at sea, starting and landing on a small moving ship.

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