Komatsu launches mid-sized hydrogen fuel-cell excavator concept

Komatsu has announced the development of a medium-sized hydraulic excavator concept, powered by a hydrogen fuel cell.

Komatsu's new mid-sized concept excavator is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell Komatsu’s new mid-sized concept excavator is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. Photo: Komatsu

The manufacturer said the machine’s development is in line with its aim to achieve carbon neutrality in construction equipment.

The company said Proof of Concept (PoC) tests are underway and it is now accelerating efforts to bring medium-sized and large construction equipment powered by hydrogen fuel cells into commercial production “in the near future”.

Komatsu collaborated with Toyota Motor Corporation on the new excavator, with the development project led by operating officer and president Koji Sato.

The company integrated a hydrogen fuel cell system and hydrogen tank on the hydraulic machine.

Diesel-equivalent performance

The company said it combined Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell system with its own control technology and key components, achieving zero exhaust emissions, significantly reducing noise and vibration.

Komatsu said the excavator also delivers performance, in terms of digging efficiency and operability, equal to that of the comparable engine-driven machine.

The company states that it aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% from the use of its products and equipment production by 2030, compared with 2010 levels, and has set itself a target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Komatsu claims that, due to hydrogen’s higher energy density and shorter refuelling time compared with battery-electric technology, it has focused its research and development efforts on hydrogen fuel cells as a promising electrification choice for medium-sized and large models.

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