Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Helicopters with fuel cells

Abstract:
In future, an unmanned helicopter will search for people trapped in fallen buildings or investigate contaminated terrain. The mini-helicopter will be powered by a very light fuel cell that weighs only 30 grams and has an output of 12 watts.

Helicopters with fuel cells

Berlin, Germany | Posted on June 3rd, 2008


The old saying that "there is strength in numbers" also applies to fuel cells. To deliver a high enough power output, a number of cells have to be connected in series. Manufacturers normally stack the fuel cells - a structure consisting of several metal plates, each containing one channel for air and one for hydrogen. This makes the fuel cell stack quite heavy. Together with colleagues at the Technical University of Berlin, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM in Berlin have developed a fuel cell that weighs only 30 grams and has an output of 12 watts. The high power density of 400 watts per kilogram has so far only been achieved in considerably larger systems weighing several hundred grams. The fuel cell is light enough to power a twenty-centimeter helicopter. It is being developed by the participants in an EU project, and will be used in future for missions such as locating victims trapped in fallen buildings, monitoring traffic or investigating tracts of land that have been contaminated by chemical accidents.

How did the researchers manage to reduce the weight of the fuel cells so dramatically? "We use very thin, planar fuel cells," explains IZM team leader Dr. Robert Hahn. "We have replaced the metal plates by lightweight plastic spacers." The researchers have no need for an additional pump to provide an adequate air supply: The wind generated by the helicopter's rotor blades goes directly into the air vents. The scientists had to devise a solution for the hydrogen supply, too, as a conventional pressure tank would be too heavy for the helicopter. "We have built a small reactor containing solid sodium borohydride. If we inject water, this produces hydrogen," declares Hahn. Since the helicopter always needs about the same amount of energy to stay in the air, the reactor always has to produce a consistent quantity of hydrogen. The researchers have already built a prototype of the lightweight fuel cell. The helicopter is expected to take off, powered by this fuel cell, in just over a year's time. For the scientists, the next step is to adjust the hydrogen production to cater for fluctuating energy requirements. There are plenty of applications for such a fuel cell: It could be used as a charging point for laptop computers and cell phones, for instance.

####

About Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft undertakes applied research of direct utility to private and public enterprise and of wide benefit to society.

Our Customers:

* Industry
* Service sector
* Public administration


Facts and Figures at a Glance:

* More than 80 research units, including 56 Fraunhofer Institutes, at 40 different locations in Germany

* The majority of the 13, 000 staff are qualified scientists and engineers

* € 1.3 billion annual research budget totaling.
Of this sum, more than 1 billion euros is generated through contract research. Two thirds of the research revenue is derived from contracts with industry and from publicly financed research projects. Only one third is contributed by the German federal and Länder governments in the form of institutional funding

* Research centers and representative offices in Europe, USA, Asia and in the Middle East

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is also active on an international level: Affiliated research centers and representative offices provide contact with the regions of greatest importance to present and future scientific progress and economic development.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Dr. Robert Hahn
Phone: +49 (0) 30/46403-609
Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration
IZM
Gustav-Meyer-Allee 25
13355 Berlin

Copyright © Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

A compact, efficient single photon source that operates at ambient temperatures on a chip: Highly directional single photon source concept is expected to lead to a significant progress in producing compact, cheap, and efficient sources of quantum information bits for future appls May 3rd, 2016

Nuclear pores captured on film: Using an ultra fast-scanning atomic force microscope, researchers from the University of Basel have filmed 'living' nuclear pore complexes at work for the first time May 3rd, 2016

Little ANTs: Researchers build the world's tiniest engine May 3rd, 2016

An Experiment Seeks to Make Quantum Physics Visible to the Naked Eye May 3rd, 2016

Announcements

A compact, efficient single photon source that operates at ambient temperatures on a chip: Highly directional single photon source concept is expected to lead to a significant progress in producing compact, cheap, and efficient sources of quantum information bits for future appls May 3rd, 2016

Nuclear pores captured on film: Using an ultra fast-scanning atomic force microscope, researchers from the University of Basel have filmed 'living' nuclear pore complexes at work for the first time May 3rd, 2016

Little ANTs: Researchers build the world's tiniest engine May 3rd, 2016

An Experiment Seeks to Make Quantum Physics Visible to the Naked Eye May 3rd, 2016

Human Interest/Art

Scientists propose non-animal tools for assessing the toxicity of nanomaterials: Particle and Fibre Toxicology publishes recommendations from expert group meeting April 26th, 2016

Are humans the new supercomputer?Today, people of all backgrounds can contribute to solving serious scientific problems by playing computer games. A Danish research group has extended the limits of quantum physics calculations and simultaneously blurred the boundaries between mac April 14th, 2016

UCLA nanoscientists engage shoppers in fun conversations March 8th, 2016

Risk Analysis Publishes Non-Animal Strategy to Assess Nanomaterials February 24th, 2016

Fuel Cells

Ruthenium nanoframes open the doors to better catalysts April 4th, 2016

Saving sunshine for a rainy day: New catalyst offers efficient storage of green energy: Team led by U of T Engineering designs world's most efficient catalyst for storing energy as hydrogen by splitting water molecules March 28th, 2016

Carbon leads the way in clean energy: Groundbreaking research at Griffith University is leading the way in clean energy, with the use of carbon as a way to deliver energy using hydrogen March 23rd, 2016

Physicists prove energy input predicts molecular behavior: Theoretical proof could lead to more reliable nanomachines March 22nd, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic