World's first hydrogen pellet drone flight

A demanding project for the platform in delivering maximum efficiency, and after some lamination schedule and power setup optimizations the Raptor E1 by RaptorUAS delivered the first ever hydrogen pellet powered drone flight.

Views: 2121

Comment by Gary Mortimer on February 5, 2016 at 1:38pm

I landed at Oban years ago,lovely airfield to be testing at. But in winter!!!! Is it still porta cabins for ATC? Former RAF Connel. Was the test better served in the cold or is it just the way things worked out.

Comment by Duffy on February 5, 2016 at 3:01pm

@Gary it is a bit more civilised now, ATC is fully heated :)

@matucha123 we fly under 7kg and under 200W for cruise more than 50% of weight was the hydrogen system

It just happened to be cold, it wasn't a requirement

 Here is the take off:

Comment by Sam Spade on February 5, 2016 at 5:56pm
Great post, thank you. I read the referenced article but found it light/confusing on technical details, though. Any chance you can elaborate a little?

What is the chemical composition of the "hydrogen pellets"? The article says they are heated to release the gas. If so, what is the heat source? Does the hydrogen go to a fuel cell or is it burned directly in a small piston engine? Is water vapour also produced by the pellet as stated by the article?

Sounds like a great technology!
Comment by Hector Garcia de Marina on February 6, 2016 at 1:12am

This is indeed great. To do not have liquid/gas fuel is always very convenient as it was proven with LiPo batteries. As Sam I would like to read more technical details, the info in the link is not precise and confusing sometimes.

Btw, a basic bungee / catapult for the next take off please :P. 

Comment by Duffy on February 6, 2016 at 2:12am

You will find some more info on Cella's website: and

Comment by Hugues on February 6, 2016 at 9:28am

Looks like great technology, but is proprietary unfortunately. So no detailed info available and no way to spread the technology into the DIY community. Let's wait for an "open source" version....

Comment by Duffy on February 8, 2016 at 7:40am

@Hugues If a gas hydrogen setup with a fuel cell would be of interest for the DIY community we could probably help with an open hardware setup. It wouldn't be a garage build as you need laser engraving to make the membrane stacks and deposit the platinum. Which then of course takes the project to the question of how would you raise funds to setup manufacturing for the fuel cell.

 However we could help 



Comment by Simon Howroyd on February 8, 2016 at 11:56am

Awesome project, very similar to my doctorate I am currently writing up.  More details below:

Comment by James Betker on February 9, 2016 at 10:10am

This is an awesome project, I can't wait for these things to become commercially available.

Do you have any more information on the fuel cells being used? The Cella website leaves this part of the equation up in question quite a bit. They do link to Arcola as a "Fuel Cell" partner:

But the small-sized "developer kits" that company sells don't produce very much power. I would love to hear how 200W continuous was generated from a 1-4kg fuel cell. Also, is that the upper limits (in terms of W/kg) of the fuel cells themselves or the pellets?

Comment by Simon Howroyd on February 9, 2016 at 10:17am

James, the Aeropaks are impressive by Horizon (Arcola have close links).  Slowly approaching something sensible for our hobby in terms of power density.  Although there arent many applications for us where long endurance and low power is desired.


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