Last May, we heard about how Horizon Energy Systems was developing a hydrogen-powered quadcopter that could (hopefully) stay airborne for hours at a time. Soon, however, that drone may not be the only one doing so. That's because Intelligent Energy has unveiled a fuel cell/battery range extender that could become standard equipment on third-party drones.
Hexacopter flight times over an hour should soon become possible. Chinese drone manufacturer Walkera has decided to go beyond the battery, teaming up with micro-generator producers at GenSmart to build a new hybrid powertrain for its QR X900 professional heavy lifter. A tiny, efficient methanol motor charges the battery during flight, allowing long flight times and instant refueling and it can be switched off so the drone can operate in "stealth mode" when necessary.