Modern lithium-ion batteries allow drones to fly for an average of no more than 30 minutes on a single charge. This greatly limits the scope of application of such devices. Chinese scientists have created a battery, powered by methanol, which is able to keep the drone in the air for 12 hours.
Chinese companies dominate the global drone market. According to industry estimates, DJI's share is more than 70 percent. However, the power reserve even for the super-heavy Rainbow series is unsatisfactory. The new methanol battery technology was created by Feye UAV Technology in collaboration with the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
It took researchers two years to create the first working prototype equipped with a new battery. The FY-36 drone with a weight of 15 kilograms can be in the air for 12 hours, holding all this time a useful 3-kilogram load.
The FY-36 has an aerodynamic design, low noise and can accelerate up to 90 kilometers per hour. According to experts, the methanol battery is 70 times more efficient in terms of energy conservation than current lithium-ion counterparts. However, temperature changes can negatively affect the engine. Long-term testing and new technologies were required to overcome technical problems.
According to the manufacturer, the FY-36 has already made 15 successful flights. There is no information about the price, but a representative of Feye UAV Technology says that it will be competitive for wholesale customers. Interest has already been expressed by many Chinese organizations, including a major manufacturer of drones Eagle Brother.
In the future, it is planned to create more massive drones that can lift more weight, as well as additional test flights to minimize risks and give the technology maximum reliability.