Radio control aircraft have been using battery-powered electric motors for decades and so why not a full-size aircraft? Oh, right. The range. That’s not to mention the awfully long time required for recharging. Notwithstanding those shortfalls, many aerospace companies are developing battery-powered aircraft, albeit mostly – if not all – are all short-range transportation.
Well, here’s another, the Piasecki PA-890 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Helicopter. But, as the name implies, Piasecki PA-890 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Helicopter is not a BEV; it is powered by the hydrogen fuel cell. Teaming up with HyPoint, Piasecki Aircraft Corp. has revealed that it plans to develop using HyPoint’s hydrogen fuel-cell system.
There are not many hydrogen-powered aircraft; mostly have been limited to a few experimental designs and so, naturally, the announcement caught a lot of eyeballs. According to a report, HyPoint’s hydrogen fuel-cell system claims to packs four-time energy density of current lithium-ion batteries and “twice the specific power of existing hydrogen fuel-cell systems.”
If those aren’t enough of a draw to HyPoint’s technology, it also has a lower operating cost – up to 50 percent lower – than that of a turbine-powered rotorcraft. While no projected numbers were offered, higher energy density (battery) does indicate a longer range and it being hydrogen-powered, means recharging is very much like refueling fossil fuels which should take just minutes instead of hours.
Piasecki hopes to have a prototype certified by 2024 and achieving the first manned hydrogen-powered helicopter flight in 2025. Meanwhile, you may learn more from the official press release HERE.
Images: Piasecki Aircraft Corp.