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Hybrid Electrical-Internal Combustion Engine Power Supply for Multirotors: Feasibility Analysis and Case Study

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 12, Issue 2, June 2024, 1120505
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.d12.0505
Matija Krznar1, Danijel Pavković1, Juraj Benić2, Danko Brezak3, Mihael Cipek4
1 University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
2 UNIZAG FSB, Zagreb, Croatia
3 FSB, Zagreb, Croatia
4 University of Zagreb, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, Zagreb, Croatia


Multirotors have proven their significance in fields like aerial imaging, surveying, and inspection. However, their effectiveness is hindered by limited flight autonomy due to the low energy density of standard lithium polymer batteries and high power demand. This necessitates frequent recharging, limiting prolonged operational capabilities. In response, our study introduces a methodology to assess the feasibility of a hybrid internal combustion engine and electric generator set as an alternative power source for multirotors. We investigate three theoretical multirotor designs tailored for mid-to-heavy load capacities (15 – 35 kg max take-off mass) and evaluate both pure battery and hybrid power as vehicle energy sources. Our findings indicate that hybrid power significantly enhances endurance, enabling extended flight times and wider range coverage. This extended aerial presence achieved with the hybrid system's superior endurance over traditional batteries significantly enhances multirotor capabilities, enabling innovative applications and expanded use cases.


Keywords: Heavy-lift multirotor and power systems; ICE-Electric power system; Electrochemical battery power system; Endurance assessment

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