Urban Air Mobility
Honeywell acquires Ballard Unmanned Systems
October 24, 2020 By Wings Staff
Honeywell has acquired assets from privately held Ballard Unmanned Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southborough, Mass.-based Ballard Power Systems Inc. Honeywell explains this acquisition enters it into the hydrogen fuel cells market for unmanned aerial systems, including the Urban Air Mobility sectors, and broader aviation applications.
Ballard Unmanned Systems designs and produces stored-hydrogen proton exchange membrane fuel cell systems that power unmanned aerial systems (UAS), particularly those used for energy inspection, cargo delivery, and other commercial and defense applications where demand for UAS services is growing.
Honeywell is acquiring the key intellectual property, inventory and equipment of Ballard Unmanned Systems. Ballard’s team of fuel-cell experts will also join Honeywell as part of the acquisition. Back in June 2020, Honeywell launched a business dedicated to UAS and Urban Air Mobility.
“Adding Ballard Unmanned Systems to the Honeywell family is another example of our commitment to invest in the growing UAS segment,” said Mike Madsen, president and chief executive officer, Honeywell Aerospace. “We can now begin producing top-quality, scalable power systems for our UAS customers and eventually adapt these systems for other future aerospace, defense and adjacent segment applications.”
Honeywell states fuel cells function much like traditional batteries but with a key difference being that they do not run out of power or need to be recharged. A fuel cell uses the chemical energy of hydrogen or another fuel, explains the company, to cleanly and efficiently produce electricity. Honeywell states Ballard Unmanned Systems’ fuel cell power systems can run up to three times longer than batteries and are five times more reliable than small engines.
With the added capabilities of Ballard Unmanned Systems, Honeywell notes it intends to introduce a family of fuel cell power systems for a variety of UAS vehicles. Honeywell will also collaborate with Ballard Power Systems on broader aviation applications.