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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.


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

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