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Proceedings Paper

Fuel cell powered small unmanned aerial systems (UASs) for extended endurance flights
Author(s): Deryn Chu; R. Jiang; Z. Dunbar; Kyle Grew; J. McClure
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Paper Abstract

Small unmanned aerial systems (UASs) have been used for military applications and have additional potential for commercial applications [1-4]. For the military, these systems provide valuable intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and target acquisition (ISRTA) capabilities for units at the infantry, battalion, and company levels. The small UASs are light-weight, manportable, can be hand-launched, and are capable of carrying payloads. Currently, most small UASs are powered by lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries; however, the flight endurance is usually limited less than two hours and requires frequent battery replacement. Long endurance small UAS flights have been demonstrated through the implementation of a fuel cell system. For instance, a propane fueled solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stack has been used to power a small UAS and shown to extend mission flight time. The research and development efforts presented here not only apply to small UASs, but also provide merit to the viability of extending mission operations for other unmanned systems applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 May 2015
PDF: 5 pages
Proc. SPIE 9468, Unmanned Systems Technology XVII, 94680E (22 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2087336
Show Author Affiliations
Deryn Chu, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)
R. Jiang, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)
Z. Dunbar, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)
Kyle Grew, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)
J. McClure, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9468:
Unmanned Systems Technology XVII
Robert E. Karlsen; Douglas W. Gage; Charles M. Shoemaker; Grant R. Gerhart, Editor(s)

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