Ballard Power Systems Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:BLDP) has announced that its subsidiary Protonex has secured the first order for its fuel cell propulsion system.
Protonex was pleased to announce that it received the first order requiring it to supply its fuel cell propulsion systems as well as its design services to a South African-based developer called FlyH2 Aerospace. The latter deals with the production of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The South African developer creates the UAVs for commercial purposes. The two firms have kept the commercial details of the order confidential for competition purposes.
FlyH2 has tremendous expertise in the design and development of drone systems, and recognizes the benefits offered by fuel cell propulsion,” stated Dr. Paul Osenar, President of Protonex.
FlyH2 to integrate Protonex’s technology into its drones
The South African firm plans to integrate the fuel cell system from Protonex into three of its unmanned aircrafts that are currently under development. FlyH2 plans to use the fuel cell technology in its UA Plant prototype drone before incorporating the technology in its UA Alpha flagship aircraft. The former is expected to weigh 30 kilograms and the fuel cell system will give it a 9-hour flight time. The aircraft is expected to be used for agricultural purposes.
The UA Alpha is the most powerful of the three drones made by the company and it is designed for long-range reconnaissance purposes. The aircraft is capable of flying more than 600 kilometers with a maximum cruising altitude of 4,250 meters. It has a wingspan of 8.2 meters and contains onboard sensors that are used to analyze environmental variables. The UA Plant prototype is also fitted with sensors that will be used to monitor variables used to manage plant diseases, alien vegetation, erosion, pollution, and fires.
The third drone from FlyH2 is called the UA Geko and it was created to keep a close eye on physical infrastructure such as pipelines, bridges, powerlines, and roads. FlyH2 founder Mark van Wyk stated that the fuel cell systems from Protonex will offer new capabilities for the aircrafts.
Ballard stock closed the latest trading session on Wednesday at $3.01.