Protonex, a subsidiary of Ballard Power Systems, has received notification from the U.S. Department of Commerce that its family of fuel cell propulsion systems is now designated as EAR99-compliant (Export Administration Regulations 99). According to Ballard, the certification creates a path for commercial export and deployment in a variety of civilian unmanned vehicle applications.
As reported in April, Protonex provided Insitu – a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Co. – with a prototype fuel cell propulsion module for use in Insitu’s ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
“Fuel cell-powered systems offer compelling value for a range of unmanned vehicles,” notes Paul Osenar, president of Protonex. “This EAR99 designation opens the door for export of our family of fuel cell stacks and systems to approved destinations around the globe in order to power an extensive range of aerial, marine and land-based applications. Fuel cells are an extremely strong fit for both civilian and military uses of unmanned vehicles.”
According to Ballard, products with an EAR99 designation generally do not require a license to be exported or re-exported.
In the civilian environment, fuel cell-powered UAVs can be used in a range of surveying and monitoring applications, including for power transmission lines, railroad facilities, mining operations, oil and gas pipelines, and other critical infrastructure, the company says.