In this study, two multirotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) energy systems are comparatively evaluated via a modelling process, namely a battery electric system and a hybrid fuel cell and battery system. Technical, economic, and ecological evaluation parameters are considered. The evaluation is performed on three different mission types: a 10 km delivery mission, a 3000 m2 facade inspection, and a nine-minute drone show, to represent the transport, monitoring, and event sectors. Results are calculated via a modelling process first simulating the required power profiles for each mission and then simulating both energy systems’ operational behavior during each mission. The resulting technical parameters show that the battery electric UAV has 1.7 times higher efficiency than the fuel cell hybrid UAV. However, the fuel cell hybrid UAV allows potential flight durations 3.1 times longer than the battery electric UAV. Considering economic parameters, the battery electric UAV is the more economical choice due to the higher investment costs of the fuel cell hybrid UAV, even when considering future cost developments for investment and energy costs. For ecological parameters, the fuel cell hybrid UAV has the potential to produce significantly less emissions, but only when using hydrogen produced from renewable energy (green hydrogen). All in all, the battery electric UAV is sufficient for the three concrete missions considered and should be chosen over the fuel cell hybrid UAV. However, the fuel cell hybrid UAV should be considered for missions with longer required flight times than the battery electric UAV is capable of, especially in the transport and monitoring sectors.
Suwe, Mika; Eigenseer, Martje; and Werner, Claudia
"Model-Based Evaluation of Energy Systems for Multirotor UAV Based on Batteries and Fuel Cells,"
Journal of Aviation Technology and Engineering:
1, Article 1.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.7771/2159-6670.1262