The NederDrone: A hybrid lift, hybrid energy hydrogen UAV

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Many Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) applications require vertical take-off and landing and very long-range capabilities. Fixed-wing aircraft need long runways to land, and electric energy is still a bottleneck for helicopters, which are not range efficient. In this paper, we introduce the NederDrone, a hybrid lift, hybrid energy hydrogen-powered UAV that can perform vertical take-off and landings using its 12 propellers while flying efficiently in forward flight thanks to its fixed wings. The energy is supplied from a combination of hydrogen-driven Polymer Electrolyte Membrane fuel-cells for endurance and lithium batteries for high-power situations. The hydrogen is stored in a pressurized cylinder around which the UAV is optimized. This work analyses the selection of the concept, the implemented safety elements, the electronics and flight control and shows flight data including a 3h38 flight at sea while starting and landing from a small moving ship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16003-16018
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Hybrid unmanned air vehicle
  • Hydrogen
  • Maritime unmanned air vehicles
  • Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel-cell
  • Pressure cylinder
  • Tail-sitter


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