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MM Blog: Drone Fueled By Hydrogen

A look at a new drone fueled entirely by clean-burning hydrogen.

Numerous automakers already use hydrogen cells as an alternative to gas-fueled internal combustion engines. But until this year, the same technology hadn't been applied to aviation. That all changed in January, when a team of scientists tested a drone at Oban Airport along Scotland's western coast.

The unmanned drone was the first aircraft of any kind to be completely powered by hydrogen. It uses a system designed by British firm Cella Energy, which packs a cartridge with hydrogen pellets to power the aircraft for up to 2 hours while emitting only water vapor.

Because the fuel is also much lighter than a comparable lithium-ion battery, engineers hope that the technology could eventually make jets both lighter and cleaner. Hydrogen-powered cars, however, are currently constrained by a lack of fueling stations, and hydrogen as a fuel source is not without its critics.

SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Could this drone revolutionize aviation? Or should manufacturers look to other energy sources to enable clean commercial and cargo flights?

Email us or leave your comments below.

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