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Hydrogen fuel cells may not be ready for primetime when it comes to automotive use, but that doesn't mean there aren't any other suitable applications. For instance, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is currently working on an unmanned aerial vehicle called the Ion Tiger that uses a hydrogen fuel cell and is able to fly further with more payload than conventional battery-powered models.

"This will really be a 'first of its kind' demonstration for a fuel cell system in a UAV application for a 24-hour endurance flight, with a 5 pound payload," says ONR Program Manager Dr. Michele Anderson. Apparently, that's significantly greater than what's possible with other electric planes.

Other benefits to the hydrogen fuel cell design include the lack of emissions (obviously) and the ability to maintain stealth operations due to the machine's small size, low noise and low heat signature – perhaps not so important for automotive use, but a major boon when you're trying to spy on someone and/or murder them. Click past the break for a short video.

[Source: Physorg via Engadget]

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