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'Green' unmanned drone flies on hydrogen

April 26, 2012 at 8:12 PM   |   Comments

SEATTLE, April 26 (UPI) -- An unmanned aircraft has become a "green drone," completing a hydrogen-powered test flight for the first time, it U.S. manufacturer says.

Insitu, a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing Co., said its ScanEagle drone successfully flew using a propulsion module made from a 1,500-watt fuel cell using hydrogen, and leaving behind no harmful emissions during the 2 1/2-hour test run, TG Daily reported Thursday.

The ScanEagle has been created for the U.S. military to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data or communications relay. It has seen service in Iraq and has been used by the military in other countries including Australia, Canada, Italy and the Netherlands.

The 4-foot-long ScanEagle, with a 10-foot wingspan, can fly for about 15 consecutive hours.

"Fuel cell technology has room for growth, and that will provide an opportunity for continued efficiency improvements and weight reduction," Jeff Knapp, Insitu's chief engineer, said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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