High Power Fuel Cell for Portable and Mobility Application

Technology Overview

Hydrogen fuel cells convert hydrogen to electricity. Due to the lightweight nature of hydrogen, fuel cells are able to provide long endurance for weight sensitive applications such as flight, personal mobility and portable off-grid power.

Compared to lithium batteries, fuel cell power systems have the following advantages:
• 2-3 times higher energy density
• Ability to rapid refuel in under 10 minute

This licensed technology is available for commercialisation in territories outside China e.g. US and Europe.   

Technology Features & Specifications

This technology comprises of:
• Lightweight and compact fuel cells
   - Up to 0.3kW (~1.2kW/kg)
   - Up to 5kW (~1.6kW/kg)
• Form available:
  - Fuel cell stacks ‘as is’
  - Fully integrated plug-and-play fuel cell modules (black start capable)
• Customized design for users
  - Includes fuel cell design, manufacturing process, control, integration

Potential Applications

This technology can be adopted in the following areas:
Fuel cells have been identified as a very promising power source for unmanned aerial vehicles/drones. For such applications, it is important to minimize the weight of the fuel cell system and associated balance-of-plant in order to achieve longer flight times. By using the lightweight fuel cell stacks developed by our team, it is possible to triple the flight time of drones over conventional lithium-batteries powered ones.
By extending the flight endurance from tens of minutes to hour-long durations, this fuel cell technology opens up various industrial applications for multi-rotor drones, such as inspection, security and surveillance.

Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs)
Small fuel cell systems can be integrated into PMDs to provide extended run-time and range. This also removes the need to charge batteries, and reduces vehicle downtime and associated charging risks. This is most suitable for centralized areas such as ports, airports and large warehouses.

Portable Off-Grid Power
The lightweight and compact form factor of the developed fuel cell system makes it suitable for off-grid applications, such as soldier portable power for up to 72 hours.

Market Trends and Opportunities

It is difficult to give an approximate market size for this market as this technology is a component for other devices (e.g. power system for bicycle, power system for drones). But just as a quick estimate, the drone market today is worth USD6B in 2017, of which it is estimated that 60% are for commercial applications.  Of this 60%, we feel that a fifth of the market can be addressed using fuel cell systems, i.e.

  1. Fuel cells can address around 12% of the drone market
  2. This 12% is a 720m USD market

This technology is particularly attractive to the drone market. Currently, it is difficult to apply drone technology for industrial applications (e.g. oil rig inspection) due to the short flight time. For example, the drone would take 3-5 minutes just to get to the inspection location (double, to return), leaving the user with only several minutes to do inspection before having to land. By extending the runtime to hour-long duration, the user would have at least 30 minutes to perform his inspections, thereby opening this market segment up. 

Customer Benefits

The fuel cell stack developed has:
• 6-times reduction in volume
• 8-times reduction in weigh

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