Architecture design and performance analysis of a hybrid hydrogen fuel cell system for unmanned aerial vehicle

Ozbek E., YALIN G., KARAOĞLAN M. U., Ekici S., ÇOLPAN C. Ö., Karakoc T. H.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HYDROGEN ENERGY, vol.46, no.30, pp.16453-16464, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 46 Issue: 30
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2020.12.2160360-3199/
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, Artic & Antarctic Regions, Chemical Abstracts Core, Communication Abstracts, Environment Index, INSPEC
  • Page Numbers: pp.16453-16464
  • Keywords: Unmanned aerial vehicle, Unmanned aerial systems, Fuel cell, Hydrogen, Hybrid propulsion, ENERGY MANAGEMENT, CONCEPTUAL DESIGN, POWER-SYSTEM, UAV
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


The flight endurance of UAV systems is an important issue that restricts the operational capabilities. Thus, different energy systems and alternative onboard energy generation systems have been tested for the UAVs. Within these systems, fuel cells provide high energy density that can increase flight endurance greatly. In this study, a PEM fuel cell Li Po battery hybrid system has been developed by evaluating three architecture models. In the guide of the experimental power demand data of a fixed-wing UAV, modeling and testing procedures were performed. Battery voltage and fuel cell current variations observed during the ground tests were evaluated. It has been observed that approximately 160-170 W of the 250 W power is met by the fuel cell since no preconditioning has been applied and the temperature values at which the fuel cell exhibits its optimum performance. In the case where the fuel cell could provide 7.8 An under conditions where the humidification effects were not included in the model, the required current was over 7.8 A between approximately 400-1200 s. The fuel cell and battery behavior in response to the sudden power changes and to the uncertainties corresponding to the changes in the motor power during the flight are also detailed.