Hydrogen storage solution triples range of UAVs

Polar Technology is using this month’s Farnborough Airshow to debut a hydrogen storage solution that promises to triple the range of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).


The new cylinder is claimed to achieve class-leading 7.5 per cent weight efficiency and has a water volume of 14.4l. The cylinder operates at 350bar pressure, which Eynsham-based Polar Technology said is the result of a super-thin-wall liner. Furthermore, the new cylinder holds 25 per cent more fuel without an increase in weight.

To demonstrate the impact of the new cylinder, Polar Technology has teamed up with Intelligent Energy, a Loughborough-based hydrogen fuel cell manufacturer.

As well as tripling UAV range, the hydrogen fuel cells emit no CO2 compared to IC engine alternatives and generate less vibrations and noise.


These fuel cell powered UAVs have applications across numerous industries from energy - where they are used for surveying power lines and offshore wind infrastructure - to logistics and delivery services. The increased range and flight time of the Polar Technology and Intelligent Energy system could replace boats, helicopters and other vehicles that are more expensive and carbon intensive.

During the manufacture of the new cylinder, Polar Technology validated the cylinder design through Finite Element Analysis. The findings that followed are now being fed back into Polar Technology’s broader processes to ensure there is correlation between the theory, FEA, and physical testing.

In a statement, Daniel Chilcott, business development director at Polar Technology, said: “Intelligent Energy’s leading-edge fuel cell solution for the UAV market, combined with our class leading lightweight cylinders, takes the end user experience to another level.

“Users can begin operating UAVs in whole new ways, opening up new markets and applications. I’m excited to see continued progress which will be boosted further as the legislation for beyond visual line of sight relaxes in the near future.”

Andy Kelly, head of product at Intelligent Energy added: “The combination of our fuel cell technology and Polar Technology’s light-weight cylinder further distinguishes fuel cells as a power system of choice in the UAV market. Compared to alternative technologies this system is cleaner, longer-lasting and with a dramatically increased range that makes new applications possible.”

Farnborough International Airshow will take place between July 22-26, 2024.