HyPerComp Engineering, a leading provider of custom high performance composite vessels, announced that it has entered into a partnership with Ballard Unmanned Systems Inc, a subsidiary of Ballard Power Systems Inc, to provide FCair™ compressed hydrogen fuel tanks for commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) platforms. The company, which has a long history of creating specialty composite vessels for the automotive, aerospace, and defense industries, has worked with Ballard for many years providing hydrogen storage and propulsion systems for defense UAVs, which has led naturally to the companies working together to enable commercial hydrogen UAVs.
Daryl Thompson, HyPerComp CEO, said “We are excited to partner with Ballard to transition composite hydrogen storage vessels from niche defense to broader commercial markets. Our initial efforts together have resulted in standardization of three vessel sizes to accommodate differing aircraft and mission types, and we look forward to the coming months and years as we broaden the FCair™ product line, and ramp from field trial to deployment volumes. Our partnership with Ballard has benefited from both companies’ commitment to enabling the commercial hydrogen UAV market, and to assuring that the needed safety, performance, and interoperability standards are in place.”
Forrest Harrington, Ballard Lead Engineer for UAV refueling and support equipment, elaborated “Aircraft producers and integrators do not want to be power system integrators. Through committed and innovative partners like HyPerComp, we are able to provide a complete FCair™ solution that includes not only the fuel cell, but also aircraft components like fuel tanks, pressure regulators, and cooling systems, as well as ground support and refueling equipment and services. This permits aircraft integrators to concentrate on what they do best: aircraft design. The initial FCair™ Composite Overwrap Pressure Vessel (COPV) line includes 3.5 liter, 4.7 liter, and 7 liter models, which enable flight times of one to six hours for various fixed wing and multi-rotor UAV aircraft. The COPVs will be displayed at the AUVSI Xponential conference in Chicago, April 30 to May 2, in the Ballard Unmanned Systems booth (#1311). Both Ballard and HyPerComp personnel will be on site to answer questions and explore commercial hydrogen UAV applications.