Microtech2010 2010

Direct Methanol Fuel Cells for UAV Propulsion

K. McGrath, J. Chrostowski
QuantumSphere, Inc., US

Keywords: fuel cell, UAV, nanocatalysts, portable power


The transition to autonomous, multi-mission unmanned systems will require rugged, stable, high energy density power systems that exceed the limits of existing battery technology. Chemistries based on lithium, for example Li-ion batteries, have low operating specific energy densities of 125Wh/kg, present safety issues, and are nearing theoretical limits. In contrast, direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) are liquid fuelled and have an exceptionally high theoretical specific energy, exceeding 6000 Wh/kg. As such, this technology presents an excellent opportunity to improve both mission duration and reduce weight. This presentation will illustrate improvements in direct methanol fuel cell technology employing advanced nanomaterials, and demonstrate feasibility for UAV use.
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