Modern lithium-ion batteries allow drones to fly on average no more than 30 minutes on a single charge. This greatly limits the scope of such devices. Chinese scientists have created a methanol battery that can hold a drone in the air for 12 hours.
Chinese companies dominate the global drone market. According to industry estimates, the share of DJI is more than 70 percent. However, the power reserve, even with superheavy military aircraft of the 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.
FY-36 has an aerodynamic design, low noise and is able to accelerate to 90 kilometers per hour. According to experts, a methanol battery is 70 times more efficient in terms of energy conservation than current lithium-ion counterparts. However, temperature differences can adversely affect the engine. Overcoming technical problems required lengthy tests and new technologies.
According to the manufacturer, the FY-36 has already completed 15 successful flights. There is no information about the price, but a representative of Feye UAV Technology reports that it will be competitive for wholesale customers. Interest has already been expressed by many Chinese organizations, including Eagle Brother, a major drone manufacturer.
In the future, it is planned to create more massive drones that can lift more weight, as well as conducting additional test flights to minimize risks and give the technology maximum reliability.