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Lithium battery hybrid power-will promote the future flight of electric drones

by:dcfpower     2021-03-20

In order to push the boundaries of electric drone flight performance, batteries must become smaller and lighter. In terms of power density, we seem to have reached a certain limit. Lithium polymer (Li-Po) and lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries have become very small and reasonably priced, mainly due to the battery requirements of the electric drone industry. At present, lithium batteries are more suitable for electric drones. Power source. So it has led to a wide range of applications. Today, why do electric drones use lithium batteries as a power source.

Why is it the best solution to use lithium batteries as the energy source for electric drones?

The advantage of lithium batteries is that they can be charged anywhere, and in most cases they can be transported without restrictions. Compared with gasoline-powered electric drones, they are clean, do not produce stains, are light in weight, and can be replaced by batteries The block can be easily 'refueled'.

Lithium polymer batteries (Li-po) and lithium ion batteries (Li-Ion) are the most common sources of electric drones, but this does not mean that the development of drone batteries is over. Because the latest idea is that graphene batteries may be used as batteries for electric drones, because the technology is immature, graphene may be one of the power sources for electric drones in the future. Compared with lithium polymer battery (Li-Po) batteries, lithium thionyl chloride batteries (Li-SOCl 2) have twice the energy density per kilogram, and lithium-air batteries almost 7 times. However, they are not widely used, and they carry a certain price. Lithium-sulfur batteries (Li-S) can replace lithium-ion batteries (Li-Ion) because they have a higher energy density and reduce the cost of using sulfur. Therefore, using lithium batteries as the energy source for UAV flight could not be more appropriate.

We already know why UAVs choose lithium batteries as the power source for UAVs, so let’s talk about whether other battery solutions are suitable for UAV power sources?

Since the entire UAV power system (energy + propulsion system) has an impact on flight performance, it is wrong to reduce energy alone. If the propulsion system (such as turbines or fuel cells) is very heavy and exceeds the standard, energy sources with extremely high energy density (such as kerosene or H 2) will not help. The efficiency factors of the propulsion system are also very different: Although the battery-powered system converts 73% of the energy provided into motion, the fuel cell provides 44% and the internal combustion engine only provides 39%.

Next, let’s talk about other energy sources in electric drones. 1. Hydrogen fuel cells

Hydrogen fuel cells are very attractive: there is no direct pollution, and they are environmentally friendly. They are powered by an extremely powerful source: hydrogen (H 2). Comparing the energy density [Wh / kg] of liquid H 2 and lithium polymer (Li-Po) batteries, there is a big difference between them! This alone is enough to bring hydrogen-fueled drones to the market.

2. Gasoline, kerosene, methanol, ethanol, LPG propane

There are many perfect gasoline power solutions-some of which have excellent flight performance. And its advantage is durability. Gasoline-powered drones reduce fuel consumption over time, thereby reducing weight, making the gimbal lighter, and increasing the endurance time. The 'Penguin C' fixed wing of the drone factory can use a full tank of gasoline, and the 'CAMC OPTER S-100' of Siebel can fly for more than 20 hours. The beauty of this energy is the combination of high-quality specific energy [Wh/kg] and high-volume specific energy [Wh/l]. Compared with Li-Po batteries, gasoline has a mass density of 48 times and a volume density of 13 times. In addition, the combustion engine is sturdy, small in size, light in weight, and has a good fuel consumption rate.

3. Gas-electric hybrid

A good example is the hybrid gas-electric engine of Pegasus Aviation from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and YEAIR from Berlin, Germany. Both combine the fast response of an electric motor and the advantages of gasoline-powered flight.

4. Solar energy

In the past few years, the efficiency of solar cells has increased from 10% to nearly 46%, and the power ratio has reached about 175W/m2. In order to provide large surfaces for solar-powered drones-such as the upper side of the wings, it is necessary. However, they can also be used as multi-rotor drones.

5. Solar and electric hybrid power

Solar hybrid power (solar + battery) achieves amazing endurance. Alta Devices and PowerOasis announced that they are 'cooperating to develop the world's first reference design for integrated solar and lithium battery pack power systems for small drones.' The reference architecture will use 5s-7s lithium-ion batteries and target drones with a span of 2-4 meters (6.5-13 feet).


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