Boeing taps hydrogen for Phantom Eye UAV

Boeing on Monday unveiled a potential new eye in the sky, this one powered by hydrogen fuel.

The Phantom Eye, an unmanned aerial vehicle from the company's Phantom Works division, is expected to make its first flight early next year. Boeing is pitching the demonstrator UAV as a "first of its kind" aircraft that "could open up a whole new market in collecting data and communications."

A decade into the 21st century, surveillance drones are nothing new considering the now long-running successes of aircraft such as the Predator and the Global Hawk. What sets the Phantom Eye apart is the hydrogen propulsion system. Although hydrogen has been bandied about for some time as an alternative energy source, it has yet to progress much beyond the novelty stage.

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