Ultra-long Endurance Solar-Powered UAV becomes reality

Ultra-long Endurance Solar-Powered UAV becomes reality

Technology News |
By Wisse Hettinga

Montavista began delivery of its new innovative METARY®EL series lithium metal batteries to international customers 

The new METARY®EL series products have implemented a different lithium metal anode modification solution and a new flame-retardant electrolyte, featuring a significantly improved cycling stability over the previous METARY®Ex series announced in 2020. At the same time, the new products still keep the features of high specific energy, operation safety, and environmental adaptability. The new METARY®EL battery demonstrates a high capacity retention over 90% after 300 cycles, and the mass-specific energy density retains 400Wh/kg after 250 deep charge-discharge cycles.

The METARY®EL series lithium metal batteries

The groundbreaking cycle performance of METARY®EL series lithium metal batteries will make many application scenarios with high requirements for energy density and cycle life a reality. Take the “ultra-long endurance” solar-powered UAV as an example. It has been pursued by many international companies because of its application potential for communication relay, forest fire monitoring, atmospheric environment observation, and geographic mapping. The practical application value and economic cost relies on the endurance of the solar-powered UAV in the air, yet the commercial Li-ion battery’s energy density is generally lower than 300Wh/kg, which can barely meet the night time energy need of the solar-powered UAV. Now the lithium metal batteries with an energy density of over 400Wh/kg, such as METARY®EL, have become the enabler for its practical payload applications.

The longest flight duration record for a solar-powered UAV is 64 days, set by Airbus Zephyr S on August 15, 2022. To reach the ultimate goal of hundreds of days aloft, a future solar-powered UAV will need batteries with super-stable cycling performance while maintaining high energy density. To meet such requirements, Montavista has developed the new METARY®EL lithium metal battery series products.

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