Results of Up Great Technology Competition for Developing Hydrogen Fuel Power Plants Announced

Results of Up Great Technology Competition for Developing Hydrogen Fuel Power Plants Announced

On July 12, Moscow completed the first tests in Russia among developers of hydrogen fuel cell power plants, conducted as part of the Up Great Technology Competition — The First Element. Based on the competition outcome, the best result was shown by the Unmanned Helicopter Systems team and the Polytech team, which brought together the specialists of the SRSPU named after M.I. Platov and InEnergy. RVC, the Skolkovo Foundation, and ASI to implement the National Technology Initiative hold the Competition.

The best result was determined during test flights that took place on the territory of Crocus Expo IEC. The First Element contest participants needed to develop a power plant — an analogue of the battery — on hydrogen fuel cells for small crewless aerial vehicles with specified characteristics. The ambitious task was to create a power plant with a capacity of 1.3 kW and specific mass power consumption of at least 700 W*h/kg, while its mass should not exceed 7 kg. The developers needed to mount the created power plant on an exclusive multicopter platform, after which it should last in the air for at least three hours.

In total, 12 applications from engineering teams, commercial companies, and scientific organizations from all over Russia were submitted for participation in the competition. Following the results of qualification selection and full-time examination of competitive products, three teams reached the final: NaukaSoft (Experimental Workshop NaukaSoft, LLC Moscow), BVS (JSC "Unmanned Helicopter Systems, Moscow) and PolyTech (a consortium of SRSPU named after M.I. Platov and InEnergy companies, Rostov region, and Moscow).

According to the results of bench tests, two teams — "BVS" and "Polytech" — managed to achieve an energy intensity of 529 W*h/kg, and their installations lasted in-flight load mode for two and a half hours. For battery-powered drones today, this time does not exceed half an hour on average.

Despite the high result, which was an essential step towards the creation and field testing of new energy sources for uncrewed aerial vehicles, the technological barrier of the competition was not overcome. Therefore, a prize fund of 60 million roubles can be allocated to the following Up Great contests.

"The contestants of the First Element. Air had not only a task to overcome the technological barrier, but to learn to think in the paradigm of global technical challenges, to be able to offer a solution that brings us closer to the emergence of fundamentally new technologies in the field of hydrogen energy. In addition, the finalists coped with this task, even though they were not able to overcome the technological barrier. They were able to develop promising innovative products that will enhance the development potential of the unmanned aerial vehicle industry in Russia and in the world. The final of the competition once again confirmed that our country has a powerful technological background and scientific developments for integration into the new global market of hydrogen energy, which is actively being formed today," said Alexander Povalko, General Director of RVC.

"If we learn how to produce hydrogen fuel cells, which increase the operating time of UAV engines not only by three but by 10 hours, this will open up access for our companies to completely different markets and give completely different opportunities. It will be a revolution in the aviation industry. We already see a gigantic global competition — who will capture the air taxi market. The main players are fighting for first place, but we will soon catch up to become the fast second. To reach the goal, we do not rely on free state money "for the idea", "PR in the media" or a bundle of reported waste paper, but on working technological solutions, with high-quality software and engineering. The best of them will receive both money and fame," said Dmitry Peskov, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Digital and Technological Development.

"The first final of the Up Great technology contests took place. Besides, even if it was not marked by overcoming a standing technological barrier, it is still a great success for both the participants and organizers of the First Element contest and the entire ecosystem of Russian innovations. History knows many examples when the competition did not identify the winner within its tasks and timeframe but stimulated the emergence and development of entire industries. The contestants faced a truly complex and ambitious task, the prospects for solving which were not obvious at the start. Moreover, the fact that the finalists were just a step away from its solution opens up significant opportunities for the development of hydrogen energy in general and, in particular, the use of hydrogen engines in the aircraft segment all over the world. We are proud that this breakthrough was made in Russia by a team of Russian scientists and engineers, and we are ready to provide further support to their efforts that will help overcome the barrier very shortly," said Igor Drozdov, Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation Board.


About Up Great Technology Contests

Up Great — the largest technology contests in terms of the prize pool in Russia. The competition mechanics are modelled on the prestigious international competitions XPrize, Darpa Grand Challenge, etc. Participants are invited to find solutions to the most complex technological problems, which in the world so far have no solutions. The winning team, overcoming the global technological barrier, receives a large cash prize — up to 200 million roubles — for the demonstration of an understandable and repeatable decision of the competition task to experts, the jury and the public. In 2018, the first Up Great contests started "Winter City" and "The First Element". The operator of technology competitions Up Great is RVC. The co-organizers are ASI and the Skolkovo Foundation.

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