Hydrogen Excavator “First” From JCB

01 July 2020

JCB has developed what it said is the construction industry’s first ever hydrogen powered excavator, it announced today.

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. The development means JCB is the first construction equipment company in the world to unveil a working prototype of an excavator powered by hydrogen, according to JCB.

JCB chairman Lord Bamford said:“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 company Wrightbus. He has won contracts to supply what are claimed to be, the world’s first hydrogen double-decker to cities such as London and Aberdeen.

Jo Bamford added: “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.”

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

The development comes after JCB moved into full production with the fully electric mini excavator, the 19C-1E. JCB has also extended electric technology to its Teletruk telescopic forklift range with the launch of an electric model, the JCB 30-19E.

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