A new brand of commercially accessible all-embracing drones uses hydrogen ammunition beef to accommodate the activity they charge to bear altruistic abatement to adversity victims in alien locations up to an hour’s flight from their home base. The eight-motor DS30 drone, congenital by Doosan Mobility Innovation (DMI), is powered by a 2.6-kW ammunition cell, additionally congenital by DMI.
The DS30 can fly at speeds of up to 80 km/h and accomplish for up to two hours amid refueling back agilely loaded. Even back accustomed up to 5 kg account of equipment, medical supplies, or added basic cargo, they acquire approved ambit and ability that enabled them to carriage masks and emergency food amid U.S. Virgin Islands and bear medical AEDs to the top of Mt. Hallasan (6,388 ft.), the tallest abundance in South Korea (Fig. 1).
1. DMI drones fabricated continued over-water flights to bear emergency medical food in the Virgin Islands. A hydrogen fuel-cell ability backpack fabricated this accessible by enabling over two hours of UAV flight time—four times best than best battery-powered drones.
Since their contempo introduction, DMI’s extended-range drones acquire begin several added bartering applications, such as ecology of all-inclusive solar farms, including Korea’s better solar activity bulb in Solasido, Haenam (Fig. 2). Thanks to activity densities that are four to bristles times greater than what’s accessible from today’s batteries, DMI’s drones can complete the analysis after refueling. In contrast, a battery-powered bombinate would crave added than six array replacements to accomplish the task.
2. Solar-panel analysis is accomplished with far abundant ability and acceleration by DMI drones. Appliance a hydrogen-fuel-cell bombinate able with a accepted camera and a thermographic camera, the angel of a ability bulb on a armpit of about 20 MW was acquired by aloof two automated filigree flights. Back assuming the aforementioned mission appliance a battery-powered drone, added than six array replacements are required.
As we shall see, the engineering that enables the drones to accomplish these feats is about as absorbing as the lives they acquire saved.
From the Moon to the Earth: Optimizing Ammunition Beef for Flight
Hydrogen ammunition beef acquire been about back the 1960s and were acclimated to ability the aircraft acclimated in the Apollo lunar missions. Back then, assorted types of ceramic, membrane-based, and added fuel-cell technologies acquire amorphous to acquisition bartering applications in anchored bearing systems and bound use in automotive power. However, until recently, the weight and amount if these systems remained abstract for aviation.
While the activity body (Wh/kg) of aeroembolism hydrogen itself is far greater than that of any lithium-based array accessible today, the weight of the ammunition beef bare to aftermath the ability had fabricated hydrogen-powered aerodynamics difficult (Fig. 3). But back DMI had been developing and accomplishment anchored ammunition beef and the electro-materials that ability them for abounding years, they acquainted they could use their acquaintance to “tip the scales” in favor of hydrogen.
3. Activity body comparison: hydrogen ammunition corpuscle vs. lithium batteries.
Modular Hydrogen Power
DMI’s architecture aggregation accustomed that creating a cost-effective hydrogen ammunition corpuscle for adaptable accessories would crave several abstruse innovations. Back added weight and aggregate acquire a absolute appulse on a drone’s performance, the architecture aggregation focused on developing a actual bunched corpuscle assemblage with the accomplished accessible activity density.
Some of the accumulation were accomplished by appliance a proprietary ultra-thin metal degradation action to assemble the cell’s bipolar plates, which booty up the better allocation of the stack’s weight. The failing ammunition corpuscle additionally uses a film electrode accumulation (MEA), which enables lower weight, aerial activity output, and durability.
The ability pack’s operation is managed by a bunched ambassador bore that automatically performs the stack’s startup/shutdown sequences, as able-bodied as management, monitoring, and aegis functions. It additionally controls a brace of cooling admirers to advice accumulate its operating temperature abiding beyond a advanced ambit of operating conditions.
During startup, the ambassador performs several processes including “purging,” which cleans out any algae that could accident the membrane, and gradually introduces hydrogen to acclaim accompany the beef up to operating temperature. During the sequence, an LED affectation at the rear of the ability backpack keeps the user abreast of the cell’s advance (Fig. 4). The ambassador performs a agnate arrangement to ensure a safe shutdown.
4. The fuel-cell administration board’s cachet affectation allows the abettor to adviser the advance of the stack’s startup and abeyance sequences, its operational status, and any malfunctions that ability occur.
DPI’s ability backpack additionally includes a removable, safety-certified, high-pressure (350 bar) 10.8-liter accumulator catchbasin that can abundance up to 300 g of hydrogen, accouterment activity densities that are three to four times college than today’s batteries. The carbon-composite able catchbasin can be removed and replaced in beneath a minute during refueling operations.
Another one of the key elements in the DP30 ability pack’s all-embracing architecture is the system’s ability commitment arrangement (PDN) that converts the ammunition cells’ awful capricious achievement voltage (40 to 74 V) to deeply adapted voltages for the propulsion and fuel-cell administration systems. The PDN is comprised of two abstracted powertrains. The aboriginal can bear up to 12 A of 48-V ability to the drone’s rotor motors while the added provides up to 8 A account of 12-V ability to the assemblage controller board and its cooling fans.
To accomplish the aerial levels of ability and activity body appropriate for the PDN subsystem, DMI called pre-regulator accentuation (PRM) buck-boost regulators and a zero-voltage-switching (ZVS) buck regulator, both bogus by Vicor. As apparent in Figure 5, the PRMs can acquire ascribe voltages beyond the fuel-cell stack’s abounding operating range, up to its 74-V accessible ambit voltage (OCV), while accouterment a deeply adapted 48-V output.
5. The DM-30 ability bore integrates a fuel-cell stack, a disposable ammunition tank, cell-management electronics, and power-conditioning electronics.
In the rotor-side leg of the PDN, two PRM buck-boost regulators (PRM48AF480T400A00) are configured in alongside to accumulation the 12 A appropriate by the rotors (Fig. 6). The PDN leg that feeds the fuel-cell ambassador lath electronics’ 12-V capital bus uses a lower-power PRM (PRM48AH480T200A00) followed by a ZVS blade regulator (PI3546-00-LGIZ).
6. To accomplish the aerial levels of ability and activity body appropriate for the PDN subsystem, Vicor PRM buck-boost regulators and a ZVS blade regulator were implemented. The PRMs can acquire ascribe voltages beyond the fuel-cell stack’s abounding operating range, up to its 74-V accessible ambit voltage (OCV), while accouterment a deeply adapted 48-V output.
The ability backpack can additionally be able with amalgam batteries to accommodate the added ability bare during ascent and landing, and to serve as a advancement ability arrangement in the accident of a fuel-cell malfunction. If the stack’s accepted aback drops, the advocate keeps its achievement aural safe banned and prevents accident by addition the stack’s achievement with the amalgam batteries. In the accident of a complete assemblage failure, the array can accredit an emergency landing with up to three account of operational power.
Expanding the Ability Continuum
In acknowledgment to the success of the DP30 2.6-kW ability backpack currently in production, DMI affairs to aggrandize its artefact band with several added units, advised to serve a added ambit of applications. The ancestors will ambit from the 1.5-kW hydrogen fuel-cell ability backpack that’s appointed to be appear abutting year to a assemblage able of bearing up to 10 kW. DPI additionally intends to added aggrandize its artefact band with a alternation of drones, anniversary advised to be calmly chip with one of the new ability packs.
To apprentice added about DMI’s band of drones, ammunition corpuscle ability packs, and hydrogen accumulator tanks, bang here. To acquisition out added about Vicor’s power-conversion components, and how they’re acclimated in this application, bang here.
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