Doosan Mobility Innovation (DMI) has been delivering humanitarian relief to remote locations using drones powered by its innovative energy-dense hydrogen fuel cells.
With two hours of flight time, the drones have transported masks and emergency supplies between US Virgin Islands and have delivered medical AEDs to the top of Mt. Hallasan (6,388 ft), the tallest mountain in South Korea located on Jeju Island. . This technology paves the way for developing mobile robots with extended range and load capacity.
Additional uses for the DMI extended-range drones have been in commercial applications where longer flight times have enabled the monitoring of vast solar farms such as Korea’s largest solar energy plant in Solasido, Haenam.
When performing the same mission using a battery-powered drone, more than six battery replacements were required.
Developing a hydrogen fuel cell for mobile devices requires overall technological innovation from materials science to full system-level design optimization. The key to mobility is miniaturization, increasing efficiency and lowering system weight.
Moreover, high energy output and durability should be incorporated for a long, stable flight. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce the weight of the stack, configure a powertrain with a high power density and simplify the design of the overall power pack, including peripheral components, to fully optimize the system.
Apart from the 2.6kW DP30 power pack currently being produced, DMI plans to diversify product lines by power capacity. The company is expected to develop products with various capacities, ranging from the 1.5kW hydrogen fuel cell power pack that is scheduled to be released next year to a 10kW one and to launch corresponding drones suitable for each power pack.
The Vicor modular approach to power enables scalability to support such diverse product lines. This also allows DMI to focus on solving other engineering problems, such as stack structure changes, powertrain and peripheral components and heat dissipation method, all of which arise from the expansion of power capacity.
With Vicor, DMI is better able to pursue its main objectives: to increase durability and stability as well as achieve the miniaturization and lightening of fuel cells with high energy density.