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

Atomic Force Microscopes from Asylum Research Guide the Development of Thin Film Deposition and Etch Processes September 2nd, 2015

For 2-D boron, it's all about that base: Rice University theorists show flat boron form would depend on metal substrates September 2nd, 2015

Silk bio-ink could help advance tissue engineering with 3-D printers September 2nd, 2015

Phagraphene, a 'relative' of graphene, discovered September 2nd, 2015

Announcements

For 2-D boron, it's all about that base: Rice University theorists show flat boron form would depend on metal substrates September 2nd, 2015

Silk bio-ink could help advance tissue engineering with 3-D printers September 2nd, 2015

Phagraphene, a 'relative' of graphene, discovered September 2nd, 2015

A marine creature's magic trick explained: Crystal structures on the sea sapphire's back appear differently depending on the angle of reflection September 2nd, 2015

Human Interest/Art

Bionic liver micro-organs explain off-target toxicity of acetaminophen (Tylenol): Israeli-German partnership aims to replace animal experiments with advanced liver-on-chip devices August 17th, 2015

Omni Nano and Time Warner Cable Partner to Provide Nanotechnology Education to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Los Angeles: A $10,000 Donation to Benefit Youth of Los Angeles County's Boys & Girls Clubs August 4th, 2015

Kalam: versatility personified August 1st, 2015

Pakistani Students Who Survived Terror Attack to Attend Weeklong “NanoDiscovery Institute” at SUNY Poly CNSE in Albany July 29th, 2015

Fuel Cells

For 2-D boron, it's all about that base: Rice University theorists show flat boron form would depend on metal substrates September 2nd, 2015

Laser-burned graphene gains metallic powers: Rice University scientists find possible replacement for platinum as catalyst August 20th, 2015

New spectroscopy technique provides unprecedented insights about the reactions powering fuel cells Nanotech-enabled chip developed at UCLA can analyze chemical reactions more accurately than large machines August 12th, 2015

Pouring fire on fuels at the nanoscale August 9th, 2015

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