Development of 100w solid oxide fuel cell system for unmanned air vehicles

The aim of this project is to develop 100w microtubular or flat tubular solid oxide fuel cell system working with directly hydrocarbon gases for unmanned air vehicles. The system will be tested on vestel defence industries' own unmanned air vehicle called efe.

The aim of this project is to develop 100W directly hydrocarbon microtubular (mT) or flat tubular (fT) solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system for unmanned air vehicles (UAV). Vestel Defence Industry (VSS) which is based Turkey has 12 years experience in fuel cell and hydrogen technologies and completed many prototypes. The company also producing UAVs in different sizes. In this project, VSS will build a stack that will be developed using Kceracell supplied flat-tubular or microtubular single cells and system knowledge about SOFC and develop a system to power company's own UAV called "EFE". EFE is hand thrown UAV and has 1,5 hour endurance, 2,6 m wingspan and 4,1 kgs weight. VSS is the only company in the world working on both hydrogen systems and UAVs together. It is well demonstrated that PEM fuel cell powered UAV's uptime has increased 50% relative to battery powered UAVs by many developers. Just one developer, Lockheed Martin of USA which is the manufacturer of F-16 and many fighter jets has demonstrated microtubular fuel cell powered UAV to nearly 100% uptime extension. After the demand of such uptime extension by military and homeland security authorities, this project has been planned. It is obvious that it has more civilian application, but generally military based requirements lead technological R&D. In this project, Kceracell will support both microtubular and flat tube SOFC to VSS and VSS will develop a novel stack. While VSS will go on developing the whole system, Kceracell will be going on research and development for directly hydrocarbon microtubular and flat tube SOFC. After this development finishes, VSS will build new stack with directly hydrocarbon microtubular and flat tube SOFC and modify SOFC system for it. The flight tests' simulations will be executed with flat tube or microtubular SOFC stack technology depending on the performance and size at land creating flight environment. Especially temperature and pressure will be the critical parameters. Appropriate control functions required by UAV control unit requirements will also be available on the developed system. The critical steps of design will be the requirements of UAV by weight and volume wise. The system will be a hybrid application since immediate power requirements may not be satisfied by fuel cell. This means practically during take off and landing lithium based battery will also be utilized. Actually this battery will also be the regulator of fuel cell voltage such that fuel cell will power/charge battery al the time. It will be a hard task to satisfy the energy density requirement of UAV. Depending on the development progress further system shape will also be the guided by geometry of the fuselage of UAV. The main trigger for this project is the requirements and road maps issued by the military procurment officers. Technology road map has been modified to include fuelcell powered UAVs. prilimary bidding requirements have been issued and requirement of the user was made known, but also requiring developable parameters in compliance with the demostration data made public by the developers. It is also known that not much is made public by data wise, but the prototypes have been shown on Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International organised UAVSI ( which is accepted as being a major technology show.
100W SOFC System
Project ID: 
13 018
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
910 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.