Chinese scientists create ‘game-changer’ methanol battery that keeps drone in the air for 12 hours

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Developers of FY-36 say they overcame ‘tons of problems’ to create alcohol-fuelled battery that allows 15kg (33lb)6 drone to fly for up to 12 hours

With 15 test flights under their belt, Chinese team achieve methanol-powered flight before German company

Scientists working on a drone development programme created a “game-changing” methanol-powered fuel system that kept their UAV in the air for 12 hours.

It took them more than two years to get the FY-36 unmanned aerial vehicle to the flying prototype stage, said Zhang Wenyu, general manager of Feye UAV Technology, a Tianjin-based drone manufacturer that collaborated with the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in northeastern Liaoning province.

At 15 kilograms (33 pounds), the low-noise FY-36 can be lifted by an adult or transported in a pickup truck, and designers said its hybrid aerodynamic shape – with four vertical propellers – can allow it to cruise at speeds as high as 90km/h, or 56mph.

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