JCB unveils hydrogen powered excavator02 July 2020

The prototype 20-tonne JCB 220X excavator powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

JCB has developed what it says is the construction industry’s first ever hydrogen powered excavator.

The 20-tonne 220X excavator, powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, has been undergoing testing at JCB’s quarry proving grounds for more than 12 months.

Power for the prototype excavator is generated by reacting hydrogen with oxygen in a fuel cell to create the energy needed to run electric motors, according to JCB, with the only emission from the exhaust being water.

JCB chairman Lord Bamford explains: “The development of the first hydrogen fuelled excavator is very exciting as we strive towards a zero carbon world. In the coming months, JCB will continue to develop and refine this technology with advanced testing of our prototype machine and we will continue to be at the forefront of technologies designed to build a zero carbon future.”

Lord Bamford’s son, Jo Bamford, spent 14 years at JCB before moving into the hydrogen sector, setting up Ryse Hydrogen and then buying Northern Ireland bus giant Wrightbus. He has won contracts to supply the hydrogen double-deckers to cities such as London and Aberdeen.

Jo Bamford says: “I truly believe hydrogen is the UK’s best opportunity to build a world-leading industry which creates UK jobs, cuts emissions and is the envy of the globe.”

Adam Offord

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