Nordic Unmanned has completed the first test flight of its hydrogen-powered drone, making it the first in Scandinavia. The drone is a project from the research and development team looking at alternative and clean ways to power drones in the future.
The prototype drone has been developed to suit Nordic conditions and is equipped with a 2kW customized fuel cell system from HES and a 7.2 L pressure vessel with hydrogen at 300 bar. Using a 9 L pressure vessel allowed the team to keep the drone in the air for 120 minutes.
The drone, named the Staakar BG-200, has a maximum take-off weight of 25 kg with an endurance of 60 minutes when running on batteries. The company’s goal is to produce a high endurance fuel cell that can easily be swapped into any BG-200 that has been modified for hydrogen power.
The research project began in 2018 and has been carried out in the framework of an industrial PhD program at the University of Stavanger, funded by the Research Council of Norway.
R&D engineer and PhD candidate Jørgen Apeland said:
This is a significant milestone for the project. Hydrogen-powered aviation is a part of the future, and with the successful test flight today, we made an important step toward making it happen.
The project is expected to conclude in Q2 2021, when the data will be looked at to decide if the project should continue. If hydrogen is the way to go, Nordic Unmanned wants to make it a commercially viable product. It is currently looking to work with customers and technology providers to create the best end-to-end solutions possible.
Knut Roar Wiig, CEO of Nordic Unmanned, said:
This is a long-term research effort from Nordic Unmanned that aligns with our goal of establishing a strong community within research and development of unmanned systems in Norway, and to advance unmanned aviation.
Photo: Nordic Unmanned