The benefits of fuel cell powered drones for commercial UAV operators

The benefits of fuel cell powered drones for commercial UAV operators

Fuel cells have become a popular power alternative for many commercial UAV operators who previously opted for battery power due to a wide range of benefits including:

– Longer flight time

– Improved redundancy

– Quicker refuelling compared to battery charging times

– Better environmental credentials

Intelligent Energy’s IE-SOAR™ fuel cell modules are significantly quieter, lower maintenance, and have lower vibration than IC engines.

What problems do commercial UAV operators typically face with their drones?

Commercial UAV operators, such as those working in the inspection, mapping, and cinematography sectors, are often limited by the flight time capabilities of battery powered drones.

Fortunately, this is where fuel cell powered drones can help! Take a look at some of the benefits of fuel cell powered drones for commercial UAV operators below.

Fuel cell powered drones fly for longer

The headline benefit of drones powered by fuel cells is that, compared to those powered by batteries, they can fly for much longer due to their lightweight characteristics. Our Gryphon drone was used at the 2022 Sail GP to broadcast the event and it was able to carry the 6kg cinematography payload for the entire 90 minute broadcast window, while staying under the 25kg regulatory limit. This extra flight time enables new applications that were previously impossible with drones, such as shore launched windfarm inspection, inspection of linear power lines and the filming of live sporting events. The superior flight duration of IE-SOAR fuel cell powered drones means that they are ideal for applications where extended flight time or range is necessary, in particular BVLOS applications

Experience less downtime with a fuel cell powered drone

When fuel cell technology is combined with drone platforms, operational efficiency is improved due to the extended flight time that fuel cells can offer, coupled with the ease and reduced frequency of refuelling. You spend more time in the air completing your mission then, upon landing, the hydrogen cylinder is replaced or refuelled in a matter of minutes and therefore reducing costly idle time.

For example, LiDAR and mapping applications suit fuel cell powered drones over other power alternatives as the increased duration of the platform enables the mapping of larger environments, with fewer refuelling stops. This means the UAVs spend longer in the air and fewer calibration runs are needed.

Clean energy with drones powered by fuel cells

Fuel cell powered drones produce zero emissions and require only hydrogen and ambient air to produce power. You can learn more about how they work in our article explaining the technology here, but essentially, IE-SOAR powered drones offer commercial UAV operators the unique benefit of green, sustainable power, keeping commercial carbon footprints down and protecting the environment.

Fuel cell powered drones offer a range of benefits for commercial UAV operators, and our IE-SOAR range is leading the way across a whole number of sectors, ranging from logistics, media, military and surveillance.

If you’d like to get in contact with us to discuss your business’ requirements or to find out more, please fill out a contact form or email us at Our team is happy to help!