July 04, 2005

First practical hydrogen fuel-cell powered plane completes test flights

Well, it had to happen eventually: AeroEnvironment has flight-tested an unmanned hydrogen fuel-cell-powered spyplane that can stay aloft for one week at 65,000 feet. AV Global Observer 2.jpg
Some of you might recall the earlier NASA Helios program , which strove for similar goals. But Helios used a photoelectric approach that would generate excess hydrogen during the day and use a fuel cell only at night.
The Global Observer ditches the weight of onboard hydrogen generation and solar energy collection equipment and focuses on efficient utilization of hydrogen fuel. Perhaps the next step is unmanned refuelling tankers to automatically deliver hydrogen to the Observers so they can stay aloft indefinitely. Posted by todd at July 4, 2005 05:37 PM