Zepher has ordered fuel cell power modules from Intelligent Energy to be integrated into a custom-built vertical take off and land (eVTOL) UAV being designed for the US Army.
Based in Bingen, Washington, Zepher aims to have the UAV ready for Department of Defence applications within the first 12 months of the contract.
Intelligent Energy said its products were selected because they can offer significantly longer flight time, operate quietly and require minimal maintenance.
Once the first integration is completed, Zepher will have a design solution ready for initial production.
Lee Juby, Chief Sales Officer at Intelligent Energy, said; “Many of our customers are choosing to integrate our fuel cell power modules (FCPMs) into eVTOL UAVs. We know the endurance gains for standard multirotor UAV designs are impressive, however, when integrated onto an eVTOL the gains are significantly more, fuel cells are very efficient in this scenario.”
Rob Coatney, Lead Aerospace Engineer at Zepher, added, “Using Intelligent Energy’s FCMPs will enable Zepher to create a VTOL UAS with better operational characteristics than one with an internal combustion engine, including improved reliability, increased durability, and reduced tactical signatures.”
The design will feature two 800W FCPMs which will be used together with an Intelligent Energy Power Path Module (PPM). A PPM connects the two 800W for a 1.6kW output.