By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Aerospace
Boeing's new unmanned aerial vehicle, the Phantom Eye, can conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance -- and use hydrogen to do it.
American aerospace giant Boeing on Monday unveiled a new unmanned aerial vehicle that runs entirely on hydrogen.
Called the Phantom Eye unmanned airborne system, the aircraft can stay aloft at 65,000 feet for up to four days.
As with most UAVs, the aircraft will be used to collect data facilitate communication in enemy territory on the battlefield and across international boundaries.
"It is a perfect example of turning an idea into a reality," said Boeing Phantom Works president Darryl Davis at the launch event in St. Louis, Mo. "It defines our rapid prototyping efforts and will demonstrate the art-of-the-possible when it comes to persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
"The capabilities inherent in Phantom Eye's design will offer game-changing opportunities for our military, civil and commercial customers."
Why hydrogen? Boeing says a hydrogen propulsion system -- which has a byproduct of only water -- is more efficient and offers "great fuel economy."
Translation: Boeing has, in so many words, made a green drone.
Underneath the hood are two 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engines making 150 horsepower each. The aircraft has a 150-foot wingspan, cruises at approximately 150 knots and can carry up to a 450-pound payload.
Key partners include Ford Motor Company (engines); Aurora Flight Sciences (wing); Mahle Powertrain (propulsion controls); Ball Aerospace (fuel tanks); Turbosolutions Engineering (turbochargers); the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA); and NASA.
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Jul 12, 2010
I wonder if Boeing has been delving into the old Luftwaffe archives? The pic shown at the top of the article has some very disturbingly familiar "Gigant" lines to it...
My first thought was, "How long will it take this sort of technology to catch on in the civilian market?", as I see that the amount of (in tons of) pollution (CO2/ CO, Hydrocarbons, particulates, and other components of the exhaust) per tank full of aviation (kerosene) fuel per flight per day/year would be an amazing change to be just the by-products being energy, heat, and water. Thanks for the article.
here. like a new form of battery that stores electrical energy more efficiently and delivers that energy more efficiently on demand, the promise of hydrogen and HHO based systems can only get better. of course the current energy monopolies will seek to kill what they cannot control. so, will they give us details on the fuel system or continue to make us slaves to the energy company? :) .
While I applaud green technology, I have never been clear on the actual trade-offs to using hydrogen for these purposes. Hydrogen has more energy per unit mass than gasoline, but less per unit volume, and has disadvantages in storage (heavier tanks required, etc.) If you were optimizing a drone design for time aloft and payload, would you still choose hydrogen over aviation gas?
Amazing. Get rid of terrorists and not pollute the planet. Duel goals provided for in one drone. Just a question, what is the safety coefficient of the engine?
so how about getting a cargo version to transport loads across a country? UPS and FedEx are bound to love the idea, right?