To be able to fly for prolonged periods is a major requirement for unmanned aerial vehicles. Most of these vehicles, which are also commonly called â€œdronesâ€ are finding use in military applications but there are many civilian uses as well.
One of the main obstacles for flying long periods is the supply of power. Using conventional combustion engines require a certain weight of fuel to be carried plus there is the noise problem. Considering some of these drones are for spying missions, using regular engines cause the noise of the engine to be easily heard from the ground, which in turn causes these planes to operate at very high altitudes.
Using alternative energy resources will eliminate these problems, researchers say. Fuel cells that generate water from hydrogen and oxygen are both noiseless, pollution free and at the same time can deliver twice the efficiency of a combustion engine. The latest demonstration of flight on alternative energy enables the drone to fly for a straight 23 hours and 17 minutes.
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