Hydrogen Powered Drones Closer to Commercialization

Intelligent Energy has signed a deal with PINC to supply its air cooled fuel cell systems (see image) for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), marking Intelligent Energy’s first sale of fuel cell systems for UAVs as the company moves forward with the commercialization of its technology.

PINC uses UAVs to identify and orchestrate hard-to-reach inventory and assets in the global supply chain and is the leading provider of yard management, finished vehicle logistics, and inventory robotics solutions to the world’s largest manufacturers, retailers and contract logistics providers.

Intelligent Energy’s fuel cell systems for UAVs offer longer flight time, fast refuel capabilities and flexibility for varying payloads, addressing some of the biggest challenges for users, according to the company. This is particularly evident in the commercial space where UAVs are increasingly being used for a number of applications including inspections, search and rescue and film and photography.

PINC will operate the fuel cell powered UAVs alongside battery operated UAVs as part of its inventory robotics offering, which provides real-time inventory tracking by air. PINC’s unmanned aircraft system (UAS), ‘PINC Air’, allows companies to apply drone technology, coupled with advanced RFID and optical sensor capabilities, to improve the operational effectiveness and efficiency of inventory checks.

Julian Hughes, Senior VP at Intelligent Energy, commented on the deal: “I am delighted to announce the first sales of our fuel cell systems for UAV application. PINC is leading the way with the use of hydrogen fuel cell UAVs in the supply chain and we are certain they will be impressed with the benefits our fuel cells will offer over conventional batteries. We look forward to a long relationship with them.”

Martin Bloom, Group CEO at Intelligent Energy, added: “PINC is based in California, a state that is proactively adopting hydrogen. We see this region as a significant market for Intelligent Energy’s range of market-ready fuel cell products.”

The company believes that this first UAV deal demonstrates the its commitment, as part of its revised strategy, to commercialise fuel cell technology for this fast growing market.